Kcho (Alexis Leyva Machado)

Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba, 1970

Lives and works in Havana. From 1986 to 1990 he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Arte de La Habana. During his student years he displayed his work in different individual and collective exhibitions, although it was not until 1990 that his artistic career took off and he became one of the most internationally-renowned Cuban artists.

His work revolves for the most part around Cuban social and cultural problems and in particular the subject of emigration, exodus and identity. References to the sea, as an element that makes escape possible, but also as a characteristic element of the island of Cuba and its inhabitants, are constantly present in his work. We should also highlight the references to the lifestyle of the island, its history, the existence of man set between the sea and the land, ideas that are symbolized in the creative world of Kcho above all by the figure of the boat dealt with from different perspectives. Installation, sculpture, drawing and engraving are the media this artist employs to transform his concerns, obsessions and hopes into artworks. He works with materials that he gathers and salvages, many of them pieces of scrap that the sea returns to the land, just like his father, who worked as a carpenter, when he was a child.

He has held individual exhibitions in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana (1992, 2001), Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma (1995), Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, Havana (1995), Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal (1996), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1997), Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1997), Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1998), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2000), Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin (2002), Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (2004), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Panamá (2007), Marlborough Chelsea, New York (2007) and the Marlborough Barcelona (2011). His work forms part of public and private collections such as the Fundación ARCO de Madrid, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía de Madrid, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana and Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma, among others. Throughout his career he has received awards such as the Grand Prize of the Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, Korea (1995), and the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts, Paris (1995).


Works in the collection