Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho)Todos los caminos, 2016
Bronze sculpture, variable dimensions
In the Mid of Boats, Dreams and Mornings
Do all roads… still lead to Rome? Whether on way or the other, it depends on the perspective conditioning the approach to the phenomenon. For some, nowadays, they could lead to Rome or any other place we call world, the desired fate, the light or shadow radiating spot, which was definitely the seed turned into fruit, a fruit of their own, or shared by their compatriots, by generations, by dreams plunging into the imperishable search for happiness, usually the purest sense of existence. It is also true that such a pillar of civilization from ancient times has definitively surpassed and transmuted itself, after the vicissitudes of time and the actions of man, by cultural empires and emporiums in the widest sense of the term. However, roads spread all over, displacements continue; the physical or spiritual journey becomes perennial by revealing itself intrinsic to the human condition.
This reality is overstated if during the voyage, we anchor in the geography of an island, perhaps two or three… in short, of the archipelago embracing us, and we call Cuba. Before this isolated scenario, the sea is more than a seascape; is personified and an allegory from a speaker’s address and sometimes a dramatic ellipsis.
It is precisely the symbolic universe inherent to the sea that conditions and identifies us, to which Alexis Leyva (Kcho) nourishes himself to build his ideological aesthetic discourse. Oars, sharks, boats, propellers and tires, which serve as rafts, are part of the scenarios depicting his work. A work that emerges from contextual realities and that becomes universal as it echoes the parallel experiences from other parts of the world. Insularity, emigration and the poetics of a journey are the secular and core topics in the history of humanity, which take its prominence in the Cuban visual arts since the nineties of the Twentieth Century. Kcho was one of the pioneers at that time, even a visionary with his installation Regata, which preceded by months the huge boatlift to the United States in 1994.
More than two decades after those events that shook the grounds of art with the installation of this artist, and the history of the nation, with the migration crisis; the creator shows up along with the installation Todos los caminos (All the roads). A sculpture that, although made out of bronze, does not set aside the povera aesthetic that singles it out. The austerity of the volumes solved in brown tones contributes to this, simulating the coloring and texture of the humble wood that composes them in their everyday context. On this occasion, the reiteration of a boat, gloomy and crewless, and in radial composition, like a compass rose pointing possible courses, is quite enough to convey the desolation and vulnerability experienced at an overwhelming sea, enlarging itself into mystery, infinitude, uneasiness and hope at the same time.