Yornel Martinez, 2017 Artist in Residence, Davidoff Art Initiative

Yornel Martinez is a Cuban artist whose practice emphasizes connections between words and images. The post-conceptualist artist was selected as the fall 2017 resident of the Basel Davidoff Art Residency (October through December). Yornel Martinez is the third artist to take part in the Davidoff Art Initiative’s Basel residency program in collaboration with the Art Institute and Atelier Mondial, following the artists Guillermo Rodriguez and Michael Linares.

The Davidoff Art Initiative, which supports contemporary art and artists in the Caribbean, and fosters cultural engagement between the Caribbean and the rest of the world. The Davidoff Art Residency offers residency opportunities for Caribbean artists in selected leading artist residency programs worldwide, as well as for international artists in the Dominican Republic. These annual residencies aim to connect today’s Caribbean art more closely with the international art world. This video is a short documentary about Yornel Martinez’ residency in Basel.

Yornel Martinez, 2017 Artist in Residence, Davidoff Art Initiative, at Atelier Mondial in collaboration with the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel. Basel (Switzerland), October – December, 2017.

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Artistic Statement

“I attempt to leave a poetic imprint of the untranslatable in terms of language”

Martinez’s interests reside in “visually transcending limits of language”, inviting other artists to participate in the deconstruction and reconstruction of textual objects and their related environments.

This forthcoming residency period would serve as space to catalyze ideas and research different processes and build upon his training as an artist. Furthermore, Martinez looks forward to participating in the multifaceted possibilities that come with such an opportunity.
Among the artist’s goals for his Basel residency is the reconstruction of a virtual experience emphasizing the creative act and the experience of participants. Speaking about his upcoming residency in Basel Martínez notes, “It is a place and space for great new ideas, and where dialogues and diverse disciplines around contemporary creation coexist; where education participates with other interdisciplinary and collaborative focuses. It can be enriching to participate in these strategies of disciplinary integration as a way to deal with certain problems contained in my work. My future work could benefit from it a lot.”


Yornel J. Martínez Elías (Manzanillo, Cuba 1981)

Yornel Martinez has developed his work within the post-conceptual practice through technical formalizations and diverse materials. He studied at the Higher Institute of Art in Havana, Cuba, where he lives and works. He subverts the function of discursive elements –books, fonts, texts, archives– in order to alter their meaning. Creating a connection between words and image plays a leading role in his practice.

He has participated in the 6th Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art and in the XII Biennial of Havana as well as in the Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan. Selected recent solo and group exhibitions include: 2016 “Mi mano derecha no sabe lo que escribe mi mano izquierda”, Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. La Habana, Cuba; “Transhumance, Beyond Cuban Horizons”, CAB Art Center. Bruselas, Belgium; “Intersecciones”, The Hoffman Gallery. Portland, USA; “Nano, (Remake)”, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales CDAV. La Habana, Cuba; “Puente abierto”, Galería Evolución. Lima, Perú; “Line up”, Galería La Acacia. La Habana, Cuba; “Poesía para ver. Expo de poesía visual cubana”, Casa de la Poesía. La Habana, Cuba; 2015 Intervención en la librería, Librería Fayad Jamís. XII Bienal de La Habana. La Habana, Cuba; 2014: “El arte es nuestra última esperanza”, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona (USA).

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