Carlos Martiel

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Artist Statement

My practice focuses on researching specific political events and social injustices that occur inside and outside my country of origin, Cuba. For example, the unjustified killing of unarmed people, the use of excessive force, the violation of people’s constitutional rights, racist and discriminatory practices, and the increased militarization of the police force. My main concern in dealing with these events or injustices is to bring these problems into art and its discourses. In my work, I reference the struggles of people who have no rights, privileges, benefits, or forms of expression against the violence suffered by the current system of government and power. We are constantly assaulted by laws, which for the most part are unfair, and which do not provide any real possibility of change or equal opportunities for most people. I am directly speaking of immigrants, the homeless, refugees, the displaced, and underprivileged indigenous communities…

My interest as an artist is to examine complex power relationships established between the individual and the different contexts on which the individual operates. Through my performances, I show how our behaviors and our lifestyles are often condititioned by social and political constructions. By the constant memory and remembrance of traumatic events we are disallowed from having a fluid transformation of our social imaginary. Similarly, our ability to effectuate change is hindered and we are less conducive to achieve a common good and social justice. Art is activism as a generator and transformer of a collective consciousness.



2008-2010 Chair “Art Practice” directed by artist Tania Bruguera, Havana. Cuba

2005-2009 National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro”, Havana. Cuba


Solo Shows and Performances:


Ascension, MAAS | Mandragoras Art Space, New York, United States.

Ruins, CentralTrak, Dallas, United States.


Sentence, Cannonball Residence, Miami, United States.

Silent Prayer, Steve Turner Contemporary, LA, United States.


Acid Rain, Axeneo7, Gatineau, Canadá.

Punto di Fuga, Nitsch Museum, Naples, Italy.

Prodigal Son, Lux Gallery, Guatemala City, Guatemala.


Mock, Contemporary Art Center “Wifredo Lam”, Havana, Cuba.


Desilucional, Zalle Zero, French Alliance in Cuba, Havana. Cuba


Prodigal son, Witch House, Liverpool. UK


Adam Black and more, National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro”, Havana. Cuba

Group Exhibitions:


4th Performance Festival Thessaloniki (5th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art), Studio Vix Motrix, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Encuentro Latinoamericano de Performance, Argentine Museum of Contemporary Art [MACA], Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Performeando, Glasshouse ArtLifeLab, New York, United States.

Video in Action, Valencia Art Museum (MUVA), Carabobo, Venezuela.

The Third Shore, Kir Royal Gallery, Valencia, Spain.


Encuentros, La Brise Glace, Annecy, France.

The New [New] Corpse, Sector 2337, Chicago, United States.

Celebration Videoplay, (BOX)Videoart Project Space, Milano, Italy

Fleeting Imaginaries, CIFO Art Space, Miami, United States.

Pinta London, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, United Kingdom.

III International Biennial of Contemporary Art ULA-2014, Mérida, Venezuela.

30th Anniversary Havana Biennial, Centro Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art, Havana. Cuba

Behind the Wall, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, New York, United States.

Celebration Videoplay, Argentine Museum of Contemporary Art [MACA], Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Rapid Pulse International, Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago, United States.

Dextrocardíaco, Factoría de Arte y Desarrollo, Madrid, Spain .

Rodando se encuentran, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, Shanghai, China.

The In -Tension, Institut Supérieur des Beaux Arts de Besançon, Besançon, France.

Think twice, New Latin American Jewelry, Arocena Museum, Coahuila de Zaragoza, México.

International Performance Art Biennale, Art League Houston, Texas, United States.


To Break the Walls, Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba.

Video Art of Central American and Caribbean “La Otra Bienal”, The Macarena, Bogota, Colombia.

The In-Tension, Beton7, Athens, Greece.

Dédale, Fonderie Darling, Montréal, Canadá.

Perpendicular Luta, SESC Palladium, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Behind the Wall, The 8th floor, New York, United States.

VIVA! Art action, Bain St-Michel, Montréal, Canadá.

Think twice: New Latin American Jewelry, Arts Center, Monterrey, Mexico.

Incorpora, Xisto Space, S. of Bahia, Brazil.

Beyon Fragility, Historical Center Kalamanca, Kalamanca, Greece.

Road Maps, Sputnik Art Project, Milan, Italy.

Sovereign acts Space 13 Foundation, Warsaw, Poland.

Think twice, New Latin American Jewelry, Estonian Museum of Art and Design, Tallinn. Estonia

Exhibition of Artists Award 2012, Haus der Kunst, Vallarta, Mexico.


International Multimedia Art Festival, Institut français de Birmanie, Yangon, Myanmar.

Deformes Biennial IV, University of Chile “School of Theatre”, Santiago de Chile, Chile.

On sincerity, Boston University, Boston, United States.

N.N. International Performance, Space Quina, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Close Combat II, The multinational, Quito, Ecuador.

FLYERS, Collateral to the 11th Biennial of Havana, Morro – Cabaña, Havana, Cuba.

A History Vintage, 273 Alcalá, Madrid, Spain.

New Video-political realities, Museum of Modern Art of Medellin, Medellin ; (Mamba) Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, San Juan, Argentina. (CAC) Contemporary Art Center of Quito, Ecuador ; Spain Cordoba Cultural Center, Cordoba, Argentina ; Co-op tramallol, Sevilla, Spain. Cultural Center Founders,Manizales, Colombia ; La Mandorla: Space Test and action, San Juan, Argentina ; Foundation Art Bilbao, Bilbao ; Perifèries (Nau), Valencia, Spain. Antic Teatre, Barcelona, Spain.

Art is not easy: Temporary Lapses and Artistic Tranlation, Links Hall, Chicago, United States.

Wakes, Flashing Space, Cartagena. Colombia.


Quinquenio, Zalle Zero, French Alliance in Cuba, Havana. Cuba.

Pink Noise, Provincial Center of Plastic Arts and Design “Luz & Oficio”. Havana. Cuba

Friendly takeover, zu Gast bei E105 Artlab21 studio, Bonn. Germany

Think twice, New Latin American Jewelry, Bellevue Museum of Arts, Seattle, Washington. United States

Spray, Das Hochhaus Kokerei Hansa Museum, Dortmund. Germany


Images, Imageres, Imaginaires, World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, Biscuiterie of Medina, Dakar. Senegal

The Atmosphere: Section poetic + Art Festival, Centro Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art, Havana. Cuba

Touched, Visitor Centre, 6th Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

The tip of the bullet, a decade of Cuban Art, Cuba Pavilion. Havana. Cuba

Subject omitted, Humboldt Chair, Havana. Cuba

Think Twice: New Latin American Jewelry, Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York. United States

American Night, Development Center for the Visual Arts, Havana. Cuba

Utropicos, University of Fine Arts in Pontevedra, Pontevedra Biennial XXXI, Galicia. Spain


Strong is the Morro WHO I AM, Space Aglutinador, Havana. Cuba

Only short, Transfusion Cuban Cultural Festival, Barcelona. Spain

State of Exception, Gallery X Havana Biennial, Havana. Cuba

Prizes and awards

2014. CIFOS Grants & Commissions Program Award, Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO), Miami, U.S.

2013.  Prize “Arte Laguna”, Venice, Italy.

2012. Award “Close Up Vallarta”, Jalisco, Mexico.

Residencies and fellowships:

2015. Artists-in-Residence, BHQFU, New York, United States.

2014. Artist in Residence, Immigrant Movement International, New York, United States.

2014. Artist-in-Residence, Cannonball Residence, Miami, United States.

2012. Short Term Residence, The Multinational, Quito, Ecuador.

2009. Parties Prenantes, Betansalon, Paris. France.