Condición Natural

project curated by Claudia Placeres and Nayr Lopez

from June 15th / September 15th, 2023 at Esther Montoriol Gallery, Barcelona, Spain

Artists Invited: Adonis Ferro, Carlos Vila, Grabiela Reina, Laura Lis Peña, Maikel Sotomayor, Elio Rodriguez, Greta Reyna, Hansel Leyva, Jose M. Mesias, Katiuska Saavedra, Richard Somonte

The Table Project

project curated by Isidro Blasco

from February 24th-26th, 2022 at Isidro Blasco Studio, Carabalchel, Madrid, Spain

Artists Invited: Rene Francisco, Eduardo Barco, Elio Rodriguez, Pablo Bellot, Agar Blasco, Susana Guerrero, Alejandro Botubol, Raul Bravo, Carlos Cartaxo, Clara Carvajal, Weixin Chong, Olga Diego, Patricia Escarnio, Virginia Frieyro, Julio Galeote, Montse Gomez Osuna, Miriam Guirao, Che Marchesi, Pepe Medina, Rosell Meseguer, Linarejos Moreno, Teresa Moro, ana Pastor, Sandra Rein, DAvinia Reina, Avelino Sala, Cristina Spinelli, Sandra Val, Oscar Valero


Open Studio curated by Andres Isaac Santana

from February 20th to 26th, at Studio Dagoberto Rodriguez. Madrid, Spain

Artists Invited: Rene Francisco, Dagoberto Rodriguez, Elio Rodriguez, J. Carracedo, Flavia Junqueira, Susana Guerrero, Laura Lis Peña, Antonia Cruz, Eugenio Merino, Eder Oliveira, Maikel Sotomayor, Hector Onel Guevara, Yanelis Mora, Fulvio Gonella, Glenda Leon, Marisa Caichiolo, Claudia Rogge, Dora Smek, Fabio Baroli, Juan Francisco Casas, Emanuele Tozzoli, Abel Rojo & Edgar Ariel

Artists Invited: Beatriz Sanchez, Elena Pastor, Elio Rodriguez, Nuria Ferrol, Rosalía Banet, Sergio Barrera, Tana Capo

In his third solo exhibition at Thomas Jaeckel Gallery, Cuban artist Elio Rodriguez returns with a new selection of his signature wall-mounted soft sculptures, including a large-scale diptych completed on the eve of the show’s installation. Rodriguez’s works burst into the gallery space with an exuberant mashup of lush biomorphism and fashion-savvy swagger, almost like chunks of a synthetic tropical biome magically teleported from a Rousseauian fairy-tale jungle to the gallery’s white walls. While each piece is predominantly monochromatic, the range of colors and shapes seen across all of them creates an array of allusions that link his materials to the real-world phenomena that they bump up against.

The new diptych (consisting of the paired works Black Forest and White Forest, both 2022) is the most direct in its implications, juxtaposing two similar clusters of puffy stuffed leaves, branches, and fruits, one in a range of brown tones similar to the artist’s own skin, and the other a pinkish caricature of a generic “white” skin tone. The earthy red in Jungla Desnuda and sootlike black in Jungla Negra (both 2021) hint at soil and ashes—gestation and death—while a more fanciful notion of life is suggested by the the sprawling Forest on the Wall (2013), an unruly white mass of bulbous trunks and flaps that seems to sprout organically from the cold, sterile surface of one long wall, like spirit demanding its release from the prison of matter. The luminous metallic Goldie (2020) highlights the way that art has always existed as a kind of false secondary nature, as well as the way we’ve plundered the earth for its riches since our earliest days. A related contrast of shapes and forms points at the tension between nature’s freedom and humanity’s will to dominate; while the aforementioned Forest seems to run rampant wherever it will, many of the other pieces hew more closely to the square or the rectangle that for centuries have so rigorously yet arbitrarily reinforced the idea of art as something fundamentally apart from (and theoretically better than) life.Though fashioned in three dimensions with nontraditional, factory-made materials including upholstery fabrics, buckles, and chains, Rodriguez’s pieces contain the same sense of primordial mystery and irrepressible vitality seen in the dense jungle paintings of his earlier compatriot Wifredo Lam, whose work he directly references in Jungla Desnuda, which is both an homage to and a reimagining of Lam’s famous 1943 Afro-Cuban masterpiece The Jungle. Hung in the midst of all of the soft sculptures, a large acrylic-on-canvas painting titled Jungla Oscura (2021) forces his abundant vegetal imagery into a dark and densely packed visionary space that also features glimpses of out-of-place elements like hands, strings of beads, and a 1950s vintage car that seems too large to be a toy, but too small to be the real thing. The presentation and medium are different from the other works, but the implications are the same. Rodriguez’s abiding interest in working in ambivalent conceptual spaces—teetering between the natural and the artificial, the familiar and the unknown, the obvious and the hidden—grants his sculptures a palpable aura of whimsy and wonder without ever veering too far into the uncanny. Though they can also be seen as alluding to pressing contemporary issues like colonialism, industrial sprawl, and our relentless despoiling of nature, in the end they always return to a quasi-magical state that reminds us of the power and mystery of nature while highlighting our tragic inability to ever truly and wholeheartedly return to its embrace.

curated by:

Alejandro de la Fuente: Director, Afro-Latin American Research Institute

Bárbaro Martínez Ruiz: Tanner-Opperman Chair in Honor of Roy Sieber, Indiana University

Cary A. García Yero: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Freie Universität, Berlin, and Leibniz Universität, Hannover

This exhibition proposes a new approach to Cuban art through a historical reconstruction built from and through the production of artists of African heritage. Africans and their descendants have been the creators of much of the material cultures of the Americas, yet their contributions are seldom acknowledged, identified, attributed, and studied. Many of the Africans who survived the Middle Passage and landed in Cuba and other colonies came from areas, communities, and cultures with a long and rich history of visual production. Against significant odds, they were able to reconstruct kinship networks, historical African knowledge, sensibilities, techniques, and visual cues, which found their way into colonial and modern visual cultures. Identifying these contributions is no easy task, but most scholars, curators, and critics, steeped in Western methodologies and chronologies of the visual arts, have not even tried. By centering the visual production of Cuban artists of African descent from the 19th century to the present for the first time, El Pasado Mío / My Own Past seeks to highlight the racialized understandings that have informed the traditional canon. We hope to invite new approaches, much-needed new research, by showcasing a group of artists who have never been exhibited together, including some who have received very limited attention from art historians, critics, and collectors. We want to understand Cuba’s pasts through their lives, experiences, and artistic production. We are trying to get close to their own pasts.

artists on the show: Wifredo Lam, Agustin Cardenas, Vicente Escobar, Maria Ariza, Pastor Argudin, Emilio Rivero, Ramon Loy, Alberto Peña, Ruperto Jay Matamoros, Teodoro Ramos, Florencio Gelabert, Gilberto de la Nuez, Toberto Diago, Guido Llinas, Uver solis, Rogelio Cobas, Mariano Suarez del Villar, Angel Acosta Leon, Nicolas Guillen Landrian, Pablo Toscano, Adelaida Herrera, Rafael Queneditt, Manuel Mendive, Choco, Alberto Lescay, Julia Valdes, Leandro Soto, Rene Peña, Magdalena Campos, Armando Mariño, Juana Valdes, Manuel Arenas, Juan C. alom, Andres Montalvan, Elio Rodriguez, Belkis Ayon, Alexis Esquivel, Alexander Arrechea, Juan Roberto Diago Durruthy, Gertrudis Rivalta, Liset Castillo, Susana Pilar Matienzo, Carlos Martiel

"Pero en esta exposición el protagonista no es El Macho, sino la selva, la naturaleza salvaje, que a la postre, vuelve a ser alter-ego de Elio Rodríguez y, por extensión, de El Macho. Una vegetación que se muestra voraz, carnosa, voluptuosa, lujuriosa, insinuante, sabrosa, sexualizada, cálida, exuberante... Y aunque el punto de partida, o quizás el pretexto, se encuentre en la obra maestra de su compatriota Wilfredo Lam “La Jungla” (1943) -en la que el arte y la cultura cubana se mezclan con el cubismo y el surrealismo europeo- a la postre, las junglas, ceibas y manglares de Elio Rodríguez no hablan ni de arte ni de naturaleza, sino de identidad, de identidad afrocubana, sin pasar por el tamiz occidental. Una identidad que se muestra indómita, feroz, enraizada en la tierra, impetuosa y desbocada."

David Alpañez. curator

curated by:

Luis Stephenberg:Director

Alexis Mendoza:Chief Curator

Ezequiel Taveras:curator

The New York Latin American Art Triennial is dedicated to organizing exhibitions and cultural programming through New York City to promote our Latin American culture. These exhibitions are intended to provide diverse educational programs that allow a place to engage with contemporary art expressions and investigate a deeper understanding of its role in society. NYLAAT 2022 examines the various processes and forms of creation inspired by traditional methodologies, materials and concepts which were implemented during the different stages of cultural and intellectual growth in the American continent. This project explores the inevitable repercussion that past generations had on the aesthetic, cultural or social values present in contemporary art in Latin America today. This project also refers to the evolutionary processes in the arts which have influenced the different transformations that Latin American art has undergone. In the exhibitions that make up this edition of the 2022 New York Latin American Art Triennial (NYLAAT) we also try to establish the link between contemporary art in the continent and the premeditated use of materials, elements and forms of autochthonous expression of the first inhabitants of this region from the mats, baskets, goldsmith, pottery, textiles, altars, rituals, paintings closely related to tapestry, sculptures in clay, stone, and metal.

ARTISTS: Alonsa Guevara, Colectivo Liberdade De Arte Marginal, Cristian Laime, Colectivo Daro’s (Dario Román Fuela Valverde & Dario Xavier Sinche Brito), Darlene Charneco, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Elio Rodríguez, Elizabeth Velazquez, Gabriel Correa, Gabriel Grela Mesa, Gustavo Vejarano, Juan Carlos Alom, Julianny Ariza, Lucia Fainzilber, Melvin Toledo, Melquíades Rosario Sastre, Orlando Alandia, Raul Morilla, Yolanda Petrocelli.