TWO INSIGNIASCARLOS MARTIEL
open to the public
one viewer at a time
February 17 — March 17 2021
Saturdays and Sundays between 12
and 6 pm or by appointment
OCDChinatown is proud to present TWO INSIGNIAS by Carlos Martiel. Exhibited for the first time, this work includes a diptych of intervened American flags and a video where the flag is activated at a NYC protest in 2020.
Carlos Martiel’s work proposes his own physicality to sublimate the struggles of the black body, using symbols that reflect on a systemic racism normalized through acculturation. Using himself as a channeling device, he directly emphasizes and amplifies social situations that are often experienced in the abstract, especially by those who are not explicitly implicated.
The American flag is one such symbol. Two flags, stained red with blood. A sound piercing in my ears at this realization strikes; an imaginary close-up scene of two hands rubbing blood and working it into the heavy, satin fabric plays in my head. Upon closer inspection, in its ochre ambiguity, it reminds us of the mirage that exists between symbol, personality, and community. The United States, the community of people this flag represents, becomes organic as the trappings of socialization are stripped away. For centuries, communities of Afro American and Afro Latin immigrants have been subjected to fear, violence and invisibility. Oppression could turn passive or furious, but neither happens in Martiel’s work. Instead, the flag has been spun into a living being, turning up at the protest for civil rights in the 21st century, amidst a struggle against social and institutional forces that intend to stop the flow of the artist's own blood and quell the spirit of the tyrannized.
This is an offering. Unlike the violence that transforms our identities into invisibly shedding tears, it stakes a bold, fluorescently visible new claim on the symbol. The flag exists as itself, with all its fraught histories, but is seen here in a state of regeneration, in the crowd, bearing the blood of two Afro Americans and an Afro Latino immigrant.
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 4th Vancouver Biennale, Canada; 14th Sharjah Biennial, UAE; 14th Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador; 57th Venice Biennale, Italy; Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom; Havana Biennial, Cuba. He has had performances at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; La Tertulia Museum, Cali, Colombia; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), Houston, USA; 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; 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.
🖤 Curated by Pau Llapur