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Agape Charmani for Art-Sheep

Carlos Martiel is a Cuban performance artist, whose work could be described as an aggressive comment on the ethics, history and behavior of the world.

His provocative and raw performances explore the nature of existence, social barriers and cultural traditions. His work is a form of disagreement towards the established values, through physical expressions that remind one of rituals and ceremonial procedures. Commenting on issues such as censorship or persecution for cultural or political reasons, especially in his country, the artist sees his performances as a response to the way society and history have treated the minorities and the outsiders.

The artist uses his body as the vessel of these expressions, causing it distress and pain that resembles religious sacrifices. By removing his clothes and harming himself, Martiel humbly offers his body as a statement against the prejudices and the rejection he and his people have faced. He often uses his own blood for or during the production of his work. “Blood has a power that humans will never fully understand and is the one element that men have not yet replaced with another substance,” he says.

His performance Ruins is influenced by the history of the Native American populations who suffered in the hands of the colonial European powers and were killed either by the plagues brought by their conquerors or during the wars between them and the Europeans, and the forced labor in mines and mills. By the 17th century the Native American population had been reduced to less than 10% of its original population. This loss was then replaced by sixty million African people, capture by the Europeans and forced to slavery.

For his performance in CentralTrak, Dallas, the artist lay naked on the floor of the gallery, in a fetal position, while two Caucasian men covered him with rocks until his body became invisible. Ruins is an homage to all the people who lost their lives under inhuman and cruel conditions of injustice, slavery and discourtesy.

 

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Carlos Martiel – Ruins, 2015 | Photos by Clinton M. Butler

 

Selected performances:

 

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Quartered spirits, 2010 | Photo by Daniel Silvo

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Prodigal Son, 2010 | Photo by Alex Panda

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Vanishing Point, 2013 | Photo by Amedeo Benestante

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Award Martiel, Carlos, 2014 | Photos by Daniel Godoy, Jayme Gershen, Oriol Torrida

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Eviction, 2014 | Photo by Claudio Fuentes
 

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