K Contemporary, Denver, Colorado, USA
August 7, 2020 – September 12, 2020
K Contemporary is honored to announce an incredibly timely, thought-provoking, and groundbreaking exhibition and performance by an internationally acclaimed artist, Carlos Martiel.
Carlos Martiel (Havana, Cuba 1989) is a performance artist whose work provides intense criticism on the ethics of humanity, its history and its behavior through provocative and raw performances that explore the nature of existence, social barriers, and cultural traditions.
At the heart of Martiel’s work are powerful performances that raise questions about the way various societies have treated ethnic minorities and outsiders throughout history. But these works also defy established values and draw attention to other pressing issues, such as the politically and culturally motivated censorship and persecution present in many countries across the globe, particularly in his native Cuba. To this end, he uses physical expressions that are evocative of rituals and ceremonial procedures.
Martiel’s solo exhibition, Black Bodies – White Lies, is a compilation of performances done previously by the artist in Buenos Aires at CCK, Denver for the Biennial of the Americas, and the last one in New York during his confinement for the pandemic and more precisely after George Floyd’s murder.
Martiel was performing one day during the exhibition at K Contemporary; the title of the piece is Third Person.
The exhibition revisits the past to make us reflect on the current panorama of grieving the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and so many more people whose names we may never know. The murders of Black people have again risen to global and national attention, as has the centuries-long outrage in the United States. Tragically we grieve and protest under a seemingly impervious construct which is a social, economic, and legal system that supports racism, rooted in our collective history of genocide and enslavement.
Martiel wants to hold our gaze, to revitalize our attention, to the ongoing colonization, domination, slavery, and subjugation in our midst to this very day. These collective systems which devalue and denigrate the lives and souls of Black people and the most damning concepts written in universal history, are analyzed by the artist.
We know we must be part of the work to completely change racist, violent, and brutal systems. The changes come as protesters across the country continue to cry out for racial justice and accountability with a visceral force.
The performance Third Person, as part of Black Bodies – White Lies exhibition, is a social and political statement by Carlos Martiel.
“Race is a social construction, an idea with no biological foundation.” (Omi and Winant 1994 Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. 1994. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the1980s. New York: Routledge; Gossett 1997).
The construction of the “Black Body,” has been a social, scientific, psychological and educational conceptualization. These racial ideas have been challenging humanity, human rights and the inclusion of black persons into American society since its inception. The focal point will be Martiel’s body highlighting what is happening to the black body in our current society, and emphasizing the physical and psychological violence done to black people through slavery, lynching and police brutality.
Martiel in Third Person will create a visual conversation about the contemporary understanding of a Black Body and the struggle to have inclusion, equality and liberation. We should also connect that conversation with historical discourses, public policies and devastating contexts, like African American education. The current Black Lives Matter movement is profoundly opening our perceptions to the social, economic and environmental inequalities and violence that black communities encounter every day in this country.
The long ugly history of Black disenfranchisement and injustice is the history of American mental illness. For centuries this illness has corroded our collective wellbeing as a species, and it must be examined and neutralized to ensure the health and evolution of the American project. The intention of this curatorial project focusing on Carlos Martiel’s practice is that this art will help engender sociopolitical change within the community of Denver, Colorado.
Carlos Martiel (born 1989, Havana). Lives and works in New York and Havana. He graduated in 2009 from the National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro,” in Havana. Between the years 2008-2010, he studied in the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, directed by the artist Tania Bruguera. Martiel’s works have been included in the Biennial of the Americas, USA; 4th Vancouver Biennale, Canada; 14th Sharjah Biennial, UAE; 14th Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador; 57th Venice Biennale, Italy; Casablanca Biennale, Morocco; Biennial “La Otra”, Colombia; Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom; Pontevedra Biennial, Spain; Havana Biennial, Cuba. He has had performances at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; La Tertulia Museum, Cali, Colombia; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Quito, Ecuador; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), Houston, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del Zulia (MACZUL), Maracaibo, Venezuela; Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy; Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA; Nitsch Museum, Naples, Italy. He has received several awards, including the Franklin Furnace Fund in New York, USA, 2016; “CIFOS Grants & Commissions Program Award” in Miami, USA, 2014; “Arte Laguna” in Venice, Italy, 2013. His work has been exhibited at The São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil; The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, USA; Zisa Zona Arti Contemporanee (ZAC), Palermo, Italy; Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, USA; Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece; National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba; among others. His works are in public and private collections such as The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami; Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro.
Marisa Caichiolo is an international curator who studied art history and curatorial studies, she holds a PhD in art history and psychology. Her research focuses primarily on the impact on social and political changes in society. She focuses on cultural exchanges researching cultural production fluctuating between theory and practice. Her curatorial projects have been shown internationally, including MUSA Museum of Arts of the University of Guadalajara (Mexico); Kirchner Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, (Argentina); DOX Center for ContemporaryArts, Prague (Czech Republic); Frost Science Museum, Miami (USA); PVAC PalosVerdes Art Center, Palos Verdes (California); Building Bridges Art Foundation, Los Angeles (California); KATARA Cultural Center, Doha (Qatar); Sharjah Museum of Contemporary Art, Dubai (United Arab Emirates); Anaheim Muzeo Museum andCultural Center, Anaheim (California); Telefónica Art Foundation, Santiago(Chile); among others. She is the founder of Building Bridges International Art Foundation an international non-profit organization based in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County. The foundation is conceived to be a platform for critical-thinking, and research; local and international programs in Los Angeles; art residencies and education programs among others. Caichiolo was part of the curatorial team for international biennials, such as the Casablanca Biennale, Morocco; Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado; among others. She is also an active board member for Bugatti Foundation, Italy; Now Art LA, Los Angeles; and the Advisory Board of the DAP Program at The Broad, Los Angeles.