Lester Álvarez

Working with cultural and political memory, from the point of view of the displaced or marginalized people, is the core of Lester Álvarez’s work since he finished his studies at the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) in Havana, Cuba, in 2011. In Cuba, his country of birth and where he resided and worked until 2019, this interest positions him on the side of independent artists, those critical and uncomfortable for a system that pretends to control all its means of cultural production and that condemns to a legal vacuum any creative expression without its consent. It is in this context that he works with cursed writers, whose state banishment does not prevent them from continuing to produce a work and an authentic cultural space of reference for new generations. From this exercise of collaboration with vulnerable people, I create works in various media such as drawing, painting, installation, video, or multimedia events.
Since his graduation, Lester began to develop a career as a creator that offered him the opportunity to participate in numerous collective and solo projects. Among the most outstanding of them are the exhibitions: La verdadera noche (duo solo with José Ramón Ais), at Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, Spain; estado de silencio (State of silence), at El Apartamento and La mano generosa, in the Servando Art Gallery; and collective exhibitions like En proceso: Émergences Cubaines, Espace Temoin, Geneva, Switzerland; Illness Has a Colour (side event to the XIII Havana Biennial), El Apartamento – Estudio 50, Havana, Cuba; Karaoke and El silencio que precede a la tormenta, both collaterals to the XII Havana Biennial and La parte maldita, Norwegian Embassy at Cuba.
His work has been awarded with prizes like the residence of the Academia de Cine de España, Madrid, 2020-2021; residence Vita Activa, Instituto Internacional de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (INSTAR), Havana, Cuba; Next Generation Prize, Prince Claus Fund, Havana, Cuba; Estudio 21 at Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales CDAV, La Habana (2017) and Tengo Frío Artist Group residency, Emerson College at England (2012) and the IX International Biennial of Painting ISOLE, Cerdeña, Italy (2011).
He recently finished his Master Degree Archivo cinematográfico y audiovisual, at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, País Vasco, Spain.

El Apartamento

El Apartamento project is gathered around the landscape genre. On this occasion, the genre is understood openly, hence it is presented in traditional formats, mediums, and concepts, as well as from more avant-garde perspectives. The landscape finds its wealth in variety and also in the artists' ability to hack the art tradition. In the case of Eduardo Ponjuán (Pinar del Río, 1956) the landscape presents a more classic aesthetic, however, the way the artist plays with graphic design and advertising stereotypes makes his pieces very playful and fresh. Reynier Leyva Novo (La Habana, 1983), on the other hand, uses original photographs taken to relevant presidents and politiques in natural places. Novo intervenes these images and erases the main character from them, in such a way that the new composition is an empty landscape and an unreal document. Finally, Diana Fonseca (La Habana, 1978) incorporates the city in her pieces in a factual dimension. Diana uses fragments of Havana’s façade painting for composing artworks that are memory receptacles of the city where she lives and works. For her, this is a sort of archeological process that ends up becoming an abstract landscape.