DA2 (Domus Artium 2002) in Salamanca, Spain, is hosting Memorial Garden, a show by Cuban artist Alexis Esquivel (La Palma – Pinar del Río, Cuba, 1968). The exhibition brings together recent works produced in the last five years, mostly paintings and video. The project, adapted and expanded for DA2 from its debut last spring at the Centro Atlántico de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAM), includes various murals painted in situ on the walls of the former prison where the art center is located, as well as new installations made especially for the space. Memorial Garden is Esquivel’s first solo exhibition in Salamanca, where he has lived and worked for the past decade, and where his current themes and ideas have developed. In Memorial Garden, Esquivel reveals his fascination with History Painting, considered the “grand genre” in the canon of academic painting.
El contenido de la victoria / The Contents of Victory (2015) is an installation that imitates displays in a museum of archaeology, natural history, or ethnology, with all the weight of colonialism that these modern institutions inherited and whose collections are in large part plundered from colonized territories. On different types of Greek vases, with their characteristic painting of black figures on a terracotta ground, the artist recalls recent global events that have heightened the tension between East and West, and that have exacerbated expressions of racism and violence.
The exhibition, commissioned by curator Suset Sánchez, is on view through May 17 at DA2 Domus Artium 2002.
Excerpts from the exhibition essay courtesy Suset Sánchez and DA2.