Vegetal fibers, glass case
Camagüey, Cuba, 1873
The piece was exhibited in his solo exhibition "Images Index", at Factoría Habana, 2017.
According to the artist, the hat belonged to Major General Ignacio Agramonte y Loynaz and is pierced by the bullet that caused his death in Jimaguayú on May 11, 1873. The piece is accompanied by a text in the form of a statement, as is usual in museum display cases with objects of historical value, in which it is described how the discovery of the garment took place.
With works such as these, José Mesías aims to make a cartography of the Independence wars imaginary, their representational keys. He tries to anchor these conjectures (images) to the blank areas of the map. Details and uncertainty grow between scientism and vehemence. A cabinet of marvels that contains the findings (artificial, natural, exotic and scientific) of the travellers' explorations, the delights of the curious and collectors: absent pieces or pages, questioned by museums, archives, libraries, myths, passages, phrases, relics, fetishes, portraits made from memory. He is interested in delving into the symbolic architecture of the nation - project and deconstructing what was sculpted as truth, in order to multiply the stories into countless possibilities.
José Manuel Mesías (Havana, Cuba, 1990) graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts "San Alejandro" in Havana in 2009. He currently lives and works in Havana.
He has obtained residency scholarships in Japan, sponsored by the Akita Art Institute (2018); in Bilbao, Spain, as part of the Azkuna Zentroa - Artist x Artist Residency Program (2017); in Colombia, from the exchange project between the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Universidad de los Andes (2013), among others.
Among his main solo exhibitions we mention: Sala del Tiempo, a project presented as part of the official program of the 13th Havana Biennial, at Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (2019); Sinsontes en perseverancia, a happening held at Calle Bernal y Águila, Havana (2019); Metáfora del crepúsculo árabe, Art Dubai, as a result of the residency period in the United Arab Emirates (2019); Image Index, Factoría Habana, Havana (2017); Acerca de la verdad absoluta and The Binary Show, Mindy Solomon Gallery (2016, 2015); El origen de la simetría, Centro Provincial de Artes Plásticas y Diseño Luz y Oficios, Havana (2012).
His work has been part of the following collective exhibitions: Más allá de la utopía. Las relecturas de la historia, National Museum of Fine Arts, collateral to the 13th Havana Biennial (2019); Pouvoir & Pouvoir, Galleria Continua, Les Moulins (2019); Going away closer, Spiral Garden, Tokyo, Japan and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam (2018); La línea recta no es la más corta, Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, Spain (2018); 7th Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (2017); Cuba mi amor, Galleria Continua, Les Moulins (2017); Registro Incompleto, Habana Gallery (2017); Nido sin árbol, exhibition organized by Galleria Continua at Colegio de Arquitectos (UNAICC) (2016); Comercio de rescate, Servando Gallery, Havana (2016); La utilidad de la historia, Factoría Habana, Havana (2014); Cuban Video (MoCA), Cleveland, USA (2010); among others.