Havana-born artist José Manuel Fors (1956) received the 2016 National Visual Arts Prize in recognition of his successful career and experimental work with photography and installations.
This according to a judging panel presided by Pedro de Oraá, winner of last year’s coveted prize, and featuring Ever Fonseca, Ernesto Fernández, Nelson Domínguez, José Villa, Osneldo García, also National Prize winners; Adelaida de Juan, recipient of the National Art Critics Prize; artists Wiliam Pérez and Nelson Ramírez; critics, researchers and curators Chrislie Pérez, Grethel Morell, Blanca V. López, and Caridad Blanco; and Margarita González judging panel secretary.
Other nominees included: Eduardo Roca (Choco), Zaida del Río, Alberto Lescay, Lesbia Vent Dumois, José Ángel Toirac, Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho), Manuel Hernández, Roberto Salas, Rafael Zarza, Ernesto Rancaño and José A. Choy.
In 1976, at 20 years of age, Fors enrolled in the San Alejandro Academy of Art. He presented his first exposition in Plaza’s Casa de Cultura in 1983, but officially established himself as a visual artist five years later with Golpes de vista(Villa Clara provincial museum) and La tierra(Provincial Art and design Center, Havana).
Noteworthy among his personal exhibitions are El paso del tiempo (Wifredo Lam Center, 1995); Los retratos (6th Havana Biennial, 1997); Las cartas (Casa de las Américas, 2004); Historias circulares(National Museum of Fine Arts, 2006); and Pormenores (11th Havana Biennial, 2012); as well as international expositions including Los objetos(Belgium, 2003), and Ciudad fragmentada(California, 2012).
His work has been included in important collective exhibitions in Madrid, Milan, Brussels, Paris, Tokyo, Río de Janeiro, New York, Miami, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Toronto among other renowned settings within the global art world.
In regards to his aesthetic, Fors invokes personal and historic memory where “the anatomy of the intimate emerges as humankind’s true space,” according to art curator and critic Corina Matamoros.