Shifting World: New York Debut Of Cuban Artists
Magnan Metz Gallery is proud to announce the New York debut of Iván Capote, Duvier del Dago, Adonis Flores, Glenda León and Douglas Pérez, five young Cuban artists working and living in Havana. Shifting World will be on view from January 7 – February 5, 2011. The opening reception will be held Thursday, January 13th from 6-8pm.
Iván Capote’s (b. 1973, Pinar del Río) conceptual sculptures and drawings use minimalist language to critique the complex system of social, historic and cultural processes in an ever-globalizing world. Capote’s pieces, often rooted in everyday objects, explore the artist’s views on our relationships with one another as well as with the greater encompassing political and social spheres. In la llave de todas cosas / The key to everything (2009), the empty grooves of a bronze key spell out words, as if these building blocks of communication can open, or conversely shut, all doors in this world. The piece further alludes to the restriction of speech, as the sheer weight of the bronze and massive size of the key render it immobile and impossible to use. Capote graduated from the National Art School of Havana in 1992. In 2010 his work was featured in the international biennial Portugal Arte 10, Lisbon. Capote is currently included in the group show ámbito heterotópico, Factoria Habana, Havana, 2010-11.
Duvier del Dago (b. 1976, Villa Clara) graduated from Cuba’s prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in 2001 and has exhibited in the Havana Biennials of 2006 and 2000, the latter for which his project with DUPP collective won the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts. Del Dago’s work confronts our desire for the unattainable elements in life and a preoccupation with impossible beauty, wealth and power. A talented draftsman, del Dago’s recent work focuses on translating two dimensional drawings into three dimensional sculptural installations. In Yamaha GP (2010), transparent nylon threaded through hooks and wooden panels replaces pencil in rendering a life-size motorcycle. As the image emerges from within the web of string, it appears as an ephemeral, vulnerable counterpart to its durable metal original, making it more akin to our dreams than our realities. Del Dago’s work is currently exhibited in ámbito heterotópico, Factoria Habana, Havana, 2010-11.
Adonis Flores (b. 1971, Sancti Spiritus) received his BA in Architecture from the Universidad Central de Las Villas, Cuba. Flores’s photographs are often documentations of his performances, which center on the public’s relationship to the government and the dichotomy of freedom - control that we learn to navigate, whether consciously or not. In his photographic series “Camouflages” (2007), Flores photographs himself wearing his army fatigues from his 1989 military service in Angola. In the photograph Mascarada (2006) the artist’s face is painted to match the camouflage of his uniform, however he simultaneously takes on the comical appearance of a clown, reducing the role of the soldier at wartime to that of a reveler in a masquerade. Both are performers, acting in a drama where the fulfillment of the role is a means to its own end. In 2011 Flores will exhibit work in Body Memories, New York, as well as in the Bienal de Ventosul, Curitiba, Brazil. Recent shows include his solo exhibition Memorial, Havana Gallery, Havana (2010) and the group exhibition Cuba Avant-Garde, Xin Dong Chen Space for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2010).
Glenda León (b. 1976, Havana) investigates the intersection between the visible and invisible, the ephemeral and eternal, sound and silence through her drawings, videos, installations and photography. In the “Acoustic Drawings” series (2010), human silhouettes, the celestial sky and headphones are laser cut into aluminum to display a fusion between emotions and sound. The vignettes display literal translations of our communication with others as well as our spiritual communion: in Decidiendo (2010) a woman listens to her own heart, as if deciding whether or not to heed its desires, while in Dos estrellas escuchando (2010) two stars drop a line directly into her core. The concept is further flushed out with the rhythmic pulsation of Amor Eterno (2010), in which a small music box plays the beat of a heart in love. León received her MA in New Media Art from the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, Germany in 2007. Recent shows include Delerios, Dominique Fiat Gallery, Paris (2010) and Un Ruido Azul, Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain, Montreal (2011). In 2012 León will have a solo exhibition with Magnan Metz Gallery.
Douglas Pérez’s (b. 1972, Cienfuegos) frenetic landscapes and works on paper appropriate the language and style of Romantic era painters and engravers working in Cuba under Spanish colonial rule. Intrigued by the images of the Black Man, the Mulatto Woman and the Foreman, Pérez weaves these characters into the rich thread of Cuba’s historical social spaces, such as sugar mills, huts and colonial plazas, while also adding elements of futuristic technology and contemporary materials like iron and steel. In the canvas Fuente de indias (2008) the myths and social problems of Cuba’s island nation are critiqued: an antiquated cityscape enclosed within an arena is confronted by a flying saucer, as if it brings an invasion of Western ideas into Cuba. An evolutionary procession grows from the inner structure, as dinosaurs and mammals give way to Spanish missionaries, African women, and campesinos (farmers), who in turn sprout wings and leap from the structure, flying free into the distance. Pérez graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte(ISA) in 1996 and is currently the school's Professor of Painting. His work will be on view through February 27 in Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh.