Long has been the path of Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho) since his appearance in the national art scene of the nineties. Some consider him still insurgent and insightful. Others speak of a discourse already trite, empty, and even cynical, in the presence of complacent critics and a laudatory market. However, beyond nominations and designations, the truth is that when circumstances are immovable, when the political and economic situation on the Island seems static, without hope for change, art must be the judicious weapon, must act as inquirer and reflexive exercise. That was the creative principle of Kcho, the articulating axis of his artistic proposal.
The diaspora was from the beginning a major theme in his work and although it became one of the most energetic topics of the art in the nineties, Kcho was undoubtedly the founder of this discursive line. First was the forest of rustic oars, made of logs and boards. Then came his eternal Regatta, an endless fleet of precarious vessels. Today he continues to build moorings and throw them into the sea, but prefers to capture his images through drawing, painting, even engraving. His work stands out for a vertiginous iconographic maturity, as well as for an innate versatility to condense in a peculiar way an area of the Cuban and Caribbean reality that becomes usual.
This time painting is the privileged manifestation, for Kcho has been a skilled master of drawing and color. Many of his works made between 2000 and 2015 make it clear. Characterized by an admirable resource economy, where the black line and the strict chromatic range structure the composition, the artist’s recent productions affirm the effort to dismantle a story that already weighs in the conscience of thousands of Cubans.
A feverish creativity invades Kcho’s daily routine. He coined a poetic of deterioration and recycling, where a universe of oars, waves, boats, rafts, candles, endless columns and piers, of icons related to the journey, intermingle with the evidence of the human. But the human appears in these impersonalized canvases, the faces fade between lines and brushstrokes and only remains the wake of hopeful but fearful, depressed, nostalgic, frightened subjects. Kcho passionately explores this freedom on small, medium and large formats. He appeals to the predominance of blues and oranges as a tribute to the open sky and twilight and makes visible the impurities of notebooks, as if they were sketches executed in situ. Kcho undoubtedly undertakes an impetuous and uncertain journey, but he carries with him the irrefutable trace of his land.