rené francisco
el agua que tienes que ver, 2012
metal, india ink on canvas
350 x Ø 200 cm

René Francisco is one of the leading figures of contemporary Cuban art. His practice involves a diverse use of mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture and installations, and is characterized by a strong critical political and social ambition that is also linked to his work as a Professor of the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), in Havana. It is also important to note that Francisco is part of a generation of artists born in socialist Cuba under Fidel Castro. Suffering wide economic sanctions, the country's hardship prompted a context full of contradictions and absurdities that resonate throughout the artist's work with his ironic undertones. 


At the end of the 1990s, Francisco created the Galeria DUPP (Desde uma Pedagogia Pragmática, which translates to From a Pragmatic Pedagogy), with the aim of bringing students and professors closer together, and encouraging communal practice. In fact, collectivity also takes on a major role in his work often appearing through audience participation, which modifies and activates his work, or by erasing individuality and giving rise instead, to a collective sense of self. Space also comes in as an important aspect of his work, transpiring through his engagement with architectural formulations. The artist has received international acclaim and has been awarded several prizes throughout his career, including the UNESCO Prize in 2000. 


René Francisco was born in Holguin, Cuba, in 1960. He currently lives and works in Havana, Cuba. Recent solo exhibitions include: Orilla – La intemperie, at Platô Azcona 40 (2020), in Madrid, Spain; Deuda, at Galería La Acacia (2018), in Havana, Cuba; Venceremos, at Galeria Nara Roesler (2016), in São Paulo, Brazil; Asthma – René Francisco, at Galería Habana (2016), in Havana, Cuba; Work in Progress, at Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art (2012), in Beijing, China. His works have been part of numerous biennials including 11th, 9th, 7th and 5th editions of the Bienal de La Habana, Cuba (2012, 2006, 2000 and 1994); 52nd e 48th editions of the Bienal de Veneza, Italy (2007 and 1999); as well as the 26th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2004). Other recent group exhibitions include: La noche boca arriba, at Galería La Acacia (2018), in Havana, Cuba; Cuban forever revisited, at Pizzuti Collection (2016), in Columbus, USA; Ficción e fantasia – Arte de Cuba, at Casa Daros (2015), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Dark Mirror - Latin American Art Since 1968, at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2015), in Wolfsburg, Germany. His works are also part of several important institutional collections, such as: 21C Museum and International Contemporary Art Foundation, Louisville, USA; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Miami, USA; Daros Latinamerica AG, Zurich, Switzerland; Ludwig Forum Museum, Aachen, Germany; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba.