Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho)Untitled, from the series Bola de churre, 2018
Mixed media on canvas, 210 x 158 cm.
Kcho, Over the Seas and Far Away…
Kcho undoubtedly has one of the most consistent aesthetic discourses within Cuban contemporary art. Over three decades, he has been building his work by constantly re-inventing and strengthening his own visual codes. It sounds easy, but when art and context interweave around the same topic turns out to be a challenge for mind and craft. Indeed, Kcho is one of the most quoted in Cuban art historiography of the late Twentieth century and the early Twenty-first centennial. And while much has been said about the recurrent subject of his work, little has been mentioned regarding the constant aesthetic-iconic liberties that he has been developing throughout his career. Therefore, when he is seen through the critics’ scope, various aspects of his work appear repeatedly bringing about on an occasional basis some sort of clumsiness, thus downgrading the true shape of his creative universe.
Plenty has been addressed and written about Kcho, the painter. Indeed, he could be described as one of our most active painters. The installation has always been predominant in his work, and it has led to structural-lines breed tuning faddish compositions. Yet, there are various narrowing statements about Kcho, the painter. Supposedly, installation artists feel little need for color.
However, mermaids’ chants are always seducing. Certainly, Kcho reproduces mermaids’ chants in these artworks. Then, we don’t just talk of the inflexible painter. We talk of a new language at the service of the sanest mind and the slyest crafter. Surely, we don’t say it’s his first color-outburst work. Nonetheless, I start to believe that for the first time, the artist subordinates the swarm of crayons to the chromatic sweetening. And all this comes from a bigger irony: the holy mermaids’ chant. Is it reasonable to garnish in such a way this theme on the canvas? The true thing is that the artist’s greatest virtue rests upon this subversive act of the event. When Kcho uses techniques as the bad painting or dripping, he evokes new aesthetics in his works. New aspects are disclosed during the most immediate appreciation of his canvases. The chromatic gear stands out and it rather seems that we are standing before a new experiment in terms of the most orthodox painting. The observers might ignore some disguised suppositions within such peripeteia; perhaps it is an intention. For this purpose, the artist entertains and new meanings arise from his compositions. Likewise, the creator’s works show different nuances that the observer, in his scope (not to say cognitive), would select. There are no commitments to the cause, and art becomes a binnacle of hypocrite acts.
In the midst of an array of chromatic constellations, there is a continuous replay around the deepest commitment of the artist to himself and his history. In many ways, art (in its chameleonic essence) passes by our side and with a wink spells out mirages.
–Modesto D. Serpa