A short interview with the artist Yornel Martinez. He lives in Havana, Cuba. Eliot and I bought the Buddha in Paris at the home of Isabelle Saltiel-Nahum, an art collector and art advisor. She and her husband exhibited the project “Cuba is in!” in their art filled Parisian home in partnership with Galleria Continua during Art Basel Paris. Thank you Kathryn Mikesell of FountainheadArts and Sarah Bartesaghi Truong of Venividi Paris for the introduction.
I reached out to Yornel on Instagram. I asked if I could interview him.
Yornel: “Hello, yes we can talk.”
Lois: “What’s with the Chiclets chewing gum?”
Yornel: “Yes, chewing gum is an unusual material for a sculpture. The Buddha refers to meditation and is a cultural element of Asia. Chewing gum is something of our contemporary culture and of many activities. These two elements generate opposing forces. However, the opposing forces generate a certain harmony in the sculpture. It is exciting to see a sculpture with unusual materials.”
Found this on YouTube. A more in-depth interview about Yornel’s work.
Hometown: Manzanilla, Cuba
Lives & Works: Havana, Cuba
Selected recent solo and group exhibitions include: 2016 Mi mano derecha no sabe lo que escribe mi mano izquierda, Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. La Habana, Cuba; Transhumance, Beyond Cuban Horizons, CAB Art Center. Bruselas, Belgium; Intersecciones, The Hoffman Gallery. Portland, USA; Nano, (Remake), Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales CDAV. La Habana, Cuba; Puente abierto, Galería Evolución. Lima, Perú; Line up, Galería La Acacia. La Habana, Cuba; Poesía para ver. Expo de poesía visual cubana, Casa de la Poesía. La Habana, Cuba; 2015 Intervención en la librería, Librería Fayad Jamís. XII Bienal de La Habana. La Habana, Cuba; 2014: El arte es nuestra última esperanza, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, USA.
For more detailed CV click here
Education: 2007 Fine Arts Faculty degree at Instituto Superior de Arte ISA. Havana, Cuba; 2001 Painting and Drawing degree at Academia de Artes Plásticas José J. Tejada. Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Bio / Statement:
Yornel Martinez is a post-conceptual artist who subverts the function of discursive elements – books, fonts, texts, archives – in order to alter their meaning. Creating a connection between words and image plays a leading role in his practice. Martinez’s interests reside in “visually transcending limits of language.” Inviting other artists to participate in the deconstruction and reconstruction of textual objects and their related environments is another focus. For the XII Havana Biennial in 2015, he collaborated with Damian Ortega and other artists in a project comprised of interventions in the Fayad Jamis bookstore in Havana, as well as featured “books as art” objects by contemporary Cuban artists.
Support: Yornel Martinez’s work is made possible with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Cuban Artists Fund. .