Currently Closed
Andrea Peña
States of Transmutation
View Exhibition
Asim Waqif
Assume the Risk
View Exhibition
Shohei Katayama
As Below, So Above
View Exhibition
Doreen Chan
HalfDream: Another Room
View Exhibition

After School

Teen Summer Workshop Series
Our Mission

The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

Learn More About Us

Alexis Esquivel

Mitochondrial Democracy


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.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce at elit quis felis ullamcorper vehicula non in est. Maecenas finibus pharetra justo et faucibus. Nulla eu tortor vel ex volutpat efficitur. Vivamus placerat turpis in aliquet venenatis. Quisque ac lacinia mauris. Nam quis lobortis elit. Vestibulum sagittis nisi sit amet euismod hendrerit. Mauris non sodales odio. Donec efficitur molestie quam, sed lobortis massa vestibulum ut.

Nunc at arcu sodales nisi porta euismod non vel neque. Phasellus at lobortis ante, in suscipit justo. Proin non purus vitae nisi molestie consectetur. Vestibulum volutpat lobortis interdum. Vestibulum pretium ligula lorem, egestas ultricies lectus ultricies ac. Curabitur venenatis vulputate dolor.

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


Queloides: Race & Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art, October 15, 2010 - February 27, 2011
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!"

More from this Artist

Smile, you won!

The Tree of Science in the Garden of the Republic

Urban Sarayeye VAPROR - 2059, Automatic Vehicle to Collect Religious Offerings

Citizen of the Future

Manual for the Reduction and Expansion of Heads

Postcolonial Hero

More from this Exhibition


Kini Kini

Seven Oaths


They Are Not Mine Series





Black Marat

Orange Pants


1 2 3


Give artists the time, space and resources to create remarkable works of art that help us see our world in new ways.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram