The grand atelier of Currado Malaspina at 93 rue Clapeyron is, among other things, a shrine to Micah Carpentier.
Shortly after the great Cuban artist's death, Currado saw to it that Carpentier's assets remain fluid. The Cuban government made no secret of its intention to fossilize both Micah and his work, declaring his Avenida 20 de Mayo studio a national landmark and a public museum. This, of course, would have consigned what little Carpentier left behind to the spiders and cockroaches. Currado, in what remains to date his one and only noble endeavor, lobbied UNESCO to intervene.
And so it is that Micah Carpentier's eccentric furniture, his votive candles, his personal momentos and his beloved, ill-tuned piano all reside in the 8th Arrondissement.
What remains of his work, the paper bags - the Chinese take-out drawings, the 48 Stations of Ecstasy - are scattered throughout the world and it will be the thankless task of some venerable future scholar to finally assemble this work into a coherent whole.
The definitive Micah Carpentier still dwells within a Latin shroud of mystery and I for one do not trust Currado Malaspina to guard and maintain this legacy.
|Micah Carpentier at work. Havana 1971|