Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas was born in 1962 in Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, and completed his arts studies in 1983 in Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). He currently lives and works in New York City. In Rodríguez Cárdenas’s work, parody, humor and caricature tend away from coarseness, although they may confront the audience with what is vulgar in a society in crisis. His work invites the spectator to question reality, to see beyond the world of the official word imposed by a system that had become senseless. More than anyone, he suffered censorship. In his case, it was not a conjured-up badge of honor that he pinned on himself to face banishment from his country. Carlos Cárdenas is one of the most active artists working within the “demythifying” or critical trend that distinguished Cuban art in the 1990s. His entry into the contemporary art spotlight came with the 1988 exhibition Artista de Calidad (Quality Artist) at Galería Línea in Havana. From his initial work with collages, Cárdenas moved on to small canvases, where he applied a principle of composition similar to John Heartfield’s photomontage work: an antithesis between text slogans culled from the Cuban press and scenes where one or more characters perform, or are affected by, the actions stated in the texts.

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