René Francisco, one of Cuba´s most prolific artist and scholar, will have his first solo show in Brazil at GNR São Paulo, curated by Ella Cisneros.
We are happy to house Venceremos. Francisco´s first show as a GNR artist as well as his first show in Brazil. Layered with a critical streak that is at times ironic and at others poignant, the artist will showcase drawings, paintings, and assemblages in his debut at the gallery, set to open on April 2nd. The curator of the show, Ella Cisneros will give a guided tour of the show on the day of the opening at 10.30 am.
René Francisco is part of a generation of artists who are now in there fifties, who grew up in a Cuba ruled by a full-blown Castro regime. One that can be seen as decadent and overwhelmed by US economic sanctions. It’s only natural that artists from that era should explore the contradictions and absurdities wrought by the American embargo and by a domestic policy that strives to save face even as problems are evident. But Fraancisoc goes beyond that and manages to make work that are global, albeit local. Using Cuba as a source of inspiration.
René Francisco’s engaged artistic output is complemented by his work as a professor at the national arts school ISA (Instituto Superior de Artes) since 1989, having trained generations of young artists to have a critical outlook. He has also curated many exhibitions on important Cuban artist as well as survey shows on his home country.
Francisco’s work as an artist is as faceted as his critical production. It transits between painting to sculpture to installation, intervention, recorded action, and video. His thematic resources include utilizing Castroist slogans and iconography, displacing them from their original context to evidence their outmodedness, and infusing them with modern-day problematics.
Anthropomorphized-but-headless toothpaste tubes and black-and-white paintings of faceless crowds put in check the de-individualization that both the Castroist regime and consumerist society ultimately espouse. The refurbishing of run-down houses in Havana and offers to draw personal portraits at a stand on the street are examples of his direct actions.
The works set to be featured at Galeria Nara Roesler include black-and-white paintings from his series portraying depersonalized human collectives inside matchboxes, like flammable material that could explode. Another piece is Venceremos, a composition made from trowels used in civil construction that bear the letters of the famous Cuban slogan, formed by crowd paintings. Geometric shapes on graph paper reminiscent of utilitarian industrial projects are also on display.