Two at a Time, Two Everywhere
by Maeva Peraza
At first glance, it would seem that the work of Antonio Espinosa and Alain Pino have no connection to each other, as they are two artists with different trajectories and, if you will, polarized. But beyond the topics that obsess both creators, the turning point that unites them is the procedural conception of their pieces, the transformation of a primordial idea that will later evolve into an artistic expression. This is the reason that brings them together and becomes a pretext to join them in the upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas, MoCA-Americas, in Kendall.
The case of Alain Pino and Antonio Espinosa is similar; they are two visual producers trained in art academies in Cuba, who participated in the generational will of the nineties, a time when they began their artistic endeavors. Although they should not be considered as the foremost exponents of their generation, as both have been a kind of outsiders who bordered it, without fully participating in its dynamics.
On the other hand, the trajectory of Alain Pino (Camagüey, 1974) stands out for his extensive work as a photographer and his participation in The Merger collective, alongside Mario Miguel González and Niels Moleiro, a fusion with a clear Pop influence and a taste for manipulating objects and re-signifying them by stripping them of their usual function, thus highlighting the installation works carried out by the group with careful craft and commercial intent. Alain Pino ended his collaborations with The Merger around 2017, focused on exploring more personal facets of his work and redirecting his topics to the media transcendence of social networks and the commodification and manipulation of the image.
The artist's new works continue his inquiry into the intersection of identity and industrial design. Working with vectors, a staple of graphic design, has provided him with a suitable tool for the process of image creation due to its versatility. His interest in contemporary phenomena such as social networks and their multiple platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, have led him to give them a "face" - highlighting the interest in portraiture and the psychology of characters that Alain Pino has followed since his photographic work.
In this sense, his work proposes a new way to approach man as information, as data that can be traced through our profiles in the virtual space. It is a footprint that not only reveals our comments on the different Internet applications, our work relationships or daily purchases, but also discusses our scale of needs, values, desires and, ultimately, our identity.
On the other hand, we find in Antonio Espinosa (Manzanillo,1974) a visual producer whose trajectory has been marked by the approach to landscape as remembrance, as personal meditation. While his initial work was influenced by the painting of a reference like Tomás Sánchez, his experimentation has led him to reformulate certain codes of the Cuban landscape tradition. The artist conceives his work as a product of his multiple influences, travels, and life experiences, thus the process of conceptualization of his pieces becomes particularly important. In the first place, the pictorial deployment starts from photography, which is also reformulated as the images are recomposed and fused with others to result in a hybrid full of references – both explicit and implicit – finally assembled on the canvases. These works are conceived from evocation; the artist understands that the landscape communicates beyond its retinal quality, which is why his work has evolved towards a series of seascapes that implement a personal symbolism. The sea is the metaphor he finds to discourse about the ambivalence of the island and the experiential character of insularity. In this sense, his pieces stand out for their technical refinement and the absence of color; the artist chooses grey tones, endowing the sea with an attractive visuality and enhancing an aesthetic that has characterized most of his work.
His recent drawings of certain areas of Havana, which directly allude to the Cuban context, also stem from photographic recreation, where Antonio Espinosa portrays the streets marked by the passage of time. In this series, the creator uses irony in the very names of the pieces that indicate the direction where the buildings he portrays are located, which have survived since the time when Cuba was a colony of Spain. The buildings have been reformulated without respecting their aesthetics with the sole purpose of keeping them standing or they are in ruins, in both cases they evidence the impoverishment and social crisis of a country that has evolved in a different way over time, recomposing and displaying its ruins.
The union of these two artists, who are now following the course of their careers in the United States, where they continue their production, offers two different and extremely attractive perspectives on the path they follow to conceive their pieces, on a friendship that is now reunited at the MoCA-Americas to show us their recent work and to reveal their operation. It is an opportunity to delve into the intimacy of the creative process, to discover sketches, photographs, and life logs that, for this time, intertwine.
The Kendall Art Cultural Center (KACC), dedicated the past six years to the preservation and promotion of contemporary art and artists, and to the exchange of art and ideas throughout Miami and South Florida, as well as abroad. Through an energetic calendar of exhibitions, programs, and its collections, KACC provides an international platform for the work of established and emerging artists, advancing public appreciation and understanding of contemporary art.
The Rodríguez collection is a blueprint of Cuban art and its diaspora. Within the context of the new MoCA-Americas the collection becomes an invaluable visual source for Diaspora identity. It represents a different approach to art history to try to better understand where we come from to better know where we are heading.Read More