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Alexis Esquivel

Smile, you won!

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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As an artist, Alexis Esquivel works from the still vanguardist analytical logic of the Generation of the 1980s. Immersed in that conjuncture, Esquivel has developed an artistic strategy of delegitimizing power. He is a nonconformist, a smart mouth, an artist of disturbingly critical crudeness, perhaps because he sets up as a "vital system" the marginal "logic of the escaped slave." The runaway slave is an archetypical character who should be studied more carefully, because he embodies the renovating power of indolence, and the rebellious courage of the implied negation of the civilizing slavery of the colonial yoke, while he chooses to "escape" from the claustrophobic fate of progress.

Being marginal makes him free.

Alexis's freedom has been limited not only to questioning his present, but also his past. The past sets him free. Esquivel is an artist who enters the discourse of history as power, with the skill of a judicial investigator, as if he is trying to "render historic justice" to whatever theme he takes on, using the desacralizing of charisma of Art. Thus, in works with an inscrutable narrative sense, or perhaps more than inscrutable - mysterious, because it is encoded - he rewrites histories. - Omar Pascual Castillo

Curated by Alejandro De La Fuente

When

2010

About The Artist

Alexis Esquivel co-curated Queloides I and received his Masters in Art Education from Instituto Superior Pedagógico Enrique José Varona, Havana. Described by Cuban art critic Omar Pascual Castillo as “a nonconformist, a smart-mouth, an artist of disturbingly critical crudeness,” Esquivel uses painting, installation, performance, and video art to examine the relationship between power and race in society. His work can be divided into four stages: (1) Historical Portraits, (2) Hysterical Puns, (3) Remaking Maps, and (4) Creole Remix and Latest News from the Sugar Mill. This last series, begun in 2003, "explores the contrivances of a tropicalesque culture made for tourists, a pseudo-liberated culture that disguises the neocolonial" and includes works such as Smile you won!"

As an artist, Alexis Esquivel works from the still vanguardist analytical logic of the Generation of the 1980s. Immersed in that conjuncture, Esquivel has developed an artistic strategy of delegitimizing power. He is a nonconformist, a smart mouth, an artist of disturbingly critical crudeness, perhaps because he sets up as a "vital system" the marginal "logic of the escaped slave." The runaway slave is an archetypical character who should be studied more carefully, because he embodies the renovating power of indolence, and the rebellious courage of the implied negation of the civilizing slavery of the colonial yoke, while he chooses to "escape" from the claustrophobic fate of progress.

Being marginal makes him free.

Alexis's freedom has been limited not only to questioning his present, but also his past. The past sets him free. Esquivel is an artist who enters the discourse of history as power, with the skill of a judicial investigator, as if he is trying to "render historic justice" to whatever theme he takes on, using the desacralizing of charisma of Art. Thus, in works with an inscrutable narrative sense, or perhaps more than inscrutable - mysterious, because it is encoded - he rewrites histories. - Omar Pascual Castillo

Curated by Alejandro De La Fuente

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