“His work centers on the analysis of the social uses of language and images, which subverts by fragmenting, recomposing, and removing context. The artistic process is converted in that way as a means to understanding, not the subject itself, but instead its dynamic, its surprising character, changing and incomplete.” (José Jiménez, El Final del Eclipse. El arte de América Latina en la transición al siglo XXI,Fundación Telefónica, 2001)
E R N E S T O L E A L | | | biography
[b. 1971, Havana, Cuba]
ERNESTO LEAL graduated from the Art Academy of San Alejandro, Havana, Cuba in 1990.
Through a variety of visual media, Ernesto Leal has been exploring for many years the spoken language and the written text. He investigates how they are used, misused, appropriated and subverted; comparing and contrasting the different evolution of the spoken language as opposed to the written.
His work has been exhibited at LACMA, in the 7th Istanbul Biennial, National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, in the MADC, San Jose, Costa Rica, at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New York, in Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), Badajoz, at the University of Salamanca, Spain, at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), Mexico. D.F, in the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Monterrey, Mexico, headquarters of the IFA, Germany and the Havana Biennial event organized by the Centre for Contemporary Art Wifredo Lam.
The flexible ability of language to model and configure our immediate reality has always been one of the phenomena that interests me the most. This role of language as constructor of experience exceeds the scope of the “communicative function” inherent to speaking and writing. It is rather that our lived experience acquires the form we give it through language, and how we speak and write about it.
My work is based on the conceptual proposition that, if one affects (or complicates) the structure of the language (the why), one is also affecting the specific configuration of reality in a direct and literal way.
According to this idea, I conceive the pieces as essays or parts of open “scriptures,” models or visual examples that imagine diverse situations of language with the intention to function, perhaps, as ways of constructing my lived experience as well as my environment. To achieve this I use various mediums (painting, drawing, photography, installation, ect…) depending on each project.
1987-90 San Alejandro Academy, Cuba.
1983-86 Paulita Concepción, vocational school of visual arts, Cuba.
2022 Gramatical, Elvira Moreno Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
2018 Triple-Lenguaje, Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
2014 Word Cloud: Which are the most repeated words in cuban art? Cristo Salvador Gallery, Havana, Cuba
2013 Four Confused Messages, MAPRI, Pinar del Río, Cuba
Forced Institutionalization, Cristo Salvador Gallery, Havana, Cuba
2011 Psicofonías (Instituto Superior de Dobleagentes), Espaidos, Sala Muncunill, Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain.
Titles, Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
2009 Dysfunctions of Language, Habana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
2006 Higher Institute of Doubleagents (Audiovisuals Department), Cultural Center, ICAIC, Havana, Cuba.
2004 Document (with Luis Gómez), La Casona Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
2003 Foto Septiembre. Styrofoam Words, Nina Menocal Gallery, Mexico City.
2001 Civilians in Shock (with Manuel Piña), Habana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
1999 With Silencer. Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
1998 Chemical Screens. Sicardi-Sanders Gallery, Houston, USA.
Ten days without speaking. Project “Obsessions”, Wifredo Lam Center, Havana, Cuba.
1997 The stone falls, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, USA.
Discussion with Betara Desa (with Juan José Olavarría), Farish Gallery, Rice University, Houston, USA.
Title: Ernesto Leal, Teodoro Ramos Blanco Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
1996 The uncreated, Aglutinador Space, Havana, Cuba.
1995 The Double (17 exercises) (with Juan José Olavarría). CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
1990 Revolution is involution. Artist’s home, Cerro, Havana, Cuba.
2022 To the bitter end, Documenta 15, Kassel, Germany
2019 Mente Perdida, como parte de la exhibición La era Hans Hacke ha terminado, Procesual Art Studio,
2018 Malditos de la postguerra, Espacio Aglutinador, Havana, Cuba.
On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, PAMM, Miami, USA
2017 Art x Cuba. Contemporary Perspectives since 1989, Ludwig Forum for International Art Aachen, Germany
2016 Growing up in neverland, Scarfone-Hartley Gallery, University of Tampa, USA
Cuba. Tatuare la storia, PAC, Milan, Italy
2015 Welcome/Goodbye, Torrione Passari Arte Contemporanea, Bari, Italy
Contaminación, Fine Arts Museum, Havana, Cuba
The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana, Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweeden.
La Llegada al Fracaso, 12 Havana Biennial, Parque Morro-Cabañas, Havana, Cuba.
Sovereignty (post-zone), Cristo salvador, Havana, Cuba
Nano, 12 Havana Biennial, Teodoro Ramos Gallery, Havana, Cuba
Pulso; Colección efímera, 12 Havana Biennial, Gallery L, Havana, Cuba.
De Facto, Xoho, Havana, Cuba.
2014 Cuban Virtualities, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA
Late summer exhibition, Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
Odeón 2014, Odeón Space, Bogota, Colombia
Las Otras Narraciones, Wifredo Lam Center, Havana, Cuba
A este lado del paraiso, National Library Cuba, Havana, Cuba
Pan y Circo, Ruinas de circo, ISA, Havana, Cuba
Diga lo que quiera, nadie sabrá quien lo dijo, Aglutinador Space, Havana, Cuba
The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana, Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2013 Me encantaría dejar la calle, Cristo Salvador Gallery, Havana, Cuba
Estampa Arte Múltiple, Matadero, Madrid
Arranjos Experimentais Audiovisuales de Latinoamérica y España. CINUSP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Video Cubano, The College of New Jersey Art Gallery, New Jersey, USA
Cuban Virtualities, Tuft University Art Gallery, Boston, USA
Turn On, Fine Arts Museum, Havana, Cuba
The Removed Fragment, Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
2012 SH Contemporary Shanghai Art Fair
Revolution Not Televised, Bronx museum, NY, USA
Herejes del vacio, Habana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
India Art Fair, NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi.
2011 Imagecity: Selections from Video Cubano, YBCA, San Francisco, USA
Pinta, Earls Court Exhibition centre, London, UK
With hands and feet, Torrance Art Museum, California, USA.
Ya sé leer, Wifredo Lam center, Havana, Cuba
2010 The Collectors Eye: Peers Works from the collection of Fernando Castro, FotoFest, Houston, USA
Digital Ocean, Sala Puertanueva, Botí Foundation, Cordoba, Spain.
Profane Expressions, David Castillo Gallery, Miami, USA.
Recent acquisitions, Rubin Foundation, NY, USA.
Biennial Portugal Arte 10, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text to speech, Bonelli Lab. Mantova, Italy.
Pieza única, Delegación del Principado de Asturias en Madrid. Spain.
2009 Crossing cultures, Reininhaus, Graz, Austria.
Confluencias II. Inside Art Cuba, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, USA.
Data, Servando Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
La perra subasta, Aglutinador space, Havana, Cuba.
Dubai 2015, Simon Bolivar house, Havana, Cuba.
HB, Pabexpo, Havana, Cuba.
2008 Red, Valle 70, Havana, Cuba.
V Contemporary Art Salon, CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
Show Off, Pierre Cardin Space, Paris, France.
The First Collection, Ad Hoc Gallery. Ontario, Canada.
V.I.P., La Casona Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
100, CISAS Bolonia, Managua, Nicaragua.
Ghost posters, 23 y 12 Gallery , Havana, Cuba.
2007 Homing devices, Contemporary Art Museum, University South Florida, Tampa, USA.
Vostok, Centro de artes plásticas y diseño, Havana, Cuba.
Arth-goth, La Casona Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
2006 The Doubtful strait, Limits, MADC, San José, Costa Rica.
Stop & forward, Havana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
The missing word, Rum museum, Havana, Cuba.
Personal project, Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba.
Off line, Hispano-American Culture Center, Havana, Cuba.
2005 Contact and mediation: Poetics of the digital in Cuban art, Dunlop art Gallery, Regina, Canada.
Barro de América, Marta Traba Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brasil.
Havana Auction. Online photographic Project, Habana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
IV Contemporary Art Salon, CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
2004 Biennial Barro de América, Maracaibo Art Center Lía Bermúdez, Venezuela.
Update & download, Mexico House, Havana, Cuba.
Havana inside-out, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, USA.
Sin embargo, Fluid image, Grenoble, France.
Cuba untitled, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York, USA.
2003 Virus, San Francisco de Asis Convent, Havana, Cuba.
Suspended habits, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
Utopia/post-utopia, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New York.
Re-unión+in-tornada=888 (with Aldo Menéndez), 8 # 211, Vedado. Havana, Cuba
Double seduction, Sala Amadís, Madrid, Spain.
From a black hole, Spanish Cultural Center, Havana, Cuba.
Common sense, Havana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
2002 From a black hole, Son Espace, Pals, Girona, Spain; De Miguel Gallery, Munich, Germany.
No place, IFA gallery Bonn; IFA gallery Stuttgart; IFA gallery Berlin, Germany.
Línea, Oh línea, Someca building, 17th floor, Vedado, Havana, Cuba.
Made in Cuba, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, USA.
Copyright, Spanish Cultural Center, Havana, Cuba.
2001 7th International Istanbul Biennial, “Egofugal”, Istanbul, Turkey.
Fragments of some islands, Spanish Cultural Center, Havana, Cuba.
The end of the eclipse, Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain. Caja de Granada, Spain.
CD Room, CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
Shifting Tides, LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, CA, USA; The Museum of Contemporary
Photography, New York, USA.
2000 Esta es tu casa Vicenta, 11 and 8, Vedado, Havana, Cuba.
The last drawing of the millenium, Havana Biennial, National Theatre, Havana, Cuba.
Art Cologne 2000. Cologne, Germany.
From the Negative. Parts gallery, Minneapolis, USA.
EV+A 2000. Friends and neighbours. Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland.
The conjunction of nothingness. CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
1999 Ambient, Aglutinador Space, Havana, Cuba.
1998 From one island to another island, CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
Arte’BA 98, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1997 The art that never stops, Wilfredo Lam Center, Havana, Cuba.
The concealment of the souls, CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
A temporary misery, Aglutinador Space, Cuba.
1996 Giro de tuerca, Taller de serigrafía Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
Las otras escri (p) turas, CDAV, Havana, Cuba.
V International Cuenca Biennial of painting , Modern Art Museum, Cuenca, Ecuador.
1995 Contemporary Cuban Visual Arts, Belém Cultural Center, Portugal.
1993 The Other Space. Video art, National Museum of Fine Arts. Havana, Cuba.
1991 Born in Cuba, Ateneo de Valencia, Venezuela.
1990 Joins the HACER project working team.
1988 9 alchemists and a blind, L Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba.
Ojo pinta, L Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
1987 S.A., San Alejandro Academy, Havana, Cuba.
1986 Untitled, San Alejandro Academy, Havana, Cuba.
PUBLIC ART AND PERFORMANCE
With the group Arte Calle(Street Art)):
1987-89 There is nothing (mural), Víbora, Havana, Cuba.
Art at the cemetery gates, Zapata Street, Havana, Cuba.
Building for growing, Plaza Vieja, Havana, Cuba.
At the other side of the street, Taller de serigrafía, Havana, Cuba.
Easy shopping (performance), Havana harbour, Havana, Cuba.
From Cuba, its nature (performance), Prado Street, Havana, Cuba
Street Art Laboratory, Sala Villena, UNEAC, Havana, Cuba
2009 Mirada de curador, Corina Matamoros, Letras Cubanas.
2008 El observatorio de Línea, Elvia Rosa Castro, Ediciones Unión.
2007 Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination After 1945, Blake Stimson-Gregory Sholette, Minnesota Press.
2004 Mythologies personnelles. L’art Contemporain et l’intime, Isabelle de Maison Rouge, Editions Scala.
1994-97 Co-editor of the Cuban visual arts publication LOQUEVENGA, in which he also had articles published.
1996 Second prize, 5th International Cuenca Biennial of painting , Drawing section, Cuenca, Ecuador.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA. USA
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz Foundation, New York. USA
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis. USA
Fine Arts Museum. Havana, Cuba
Morris and Hellen Belkin Art Gallery, UBC, Vancouver, Canadá.
CIFO, Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation.
PAMM, Miami, USA
Private collections in United States, France, England, Belgium, Spain, Brazil.