About the Artist

Born in Havana, Cuba, and living in the U.S. since 2004, Osbel Susman-Peña is a visual artist and designer. In addition to painting and printmaking, he designs theatrical sets and interiors, and was a professor of design and illustration for several years at the Superior Institute of Industrial Design (ISDI) in Havana. He is a graduate of the San Alejandro Academy of Art, Cuba.

 

De origen cubano, y viviendo en los EEUU desde 2004, Osbel Susman-Peña es un artista y diseñador. Ademas de pintar y hacer grabados, hace diseños escénicos y de interiores. Era profesor de diseño e ilustración por varios años en el instituto superior de diseño industrial  (ISDI).
Graduo de la academia de arte san alejandro.

About Origia de Identidad

ORGY OF IDENTITIES

Being able to see nuances makes us free. 

 

Identity seems to be a secret that reveals itself suddenly; it comes 

upon us like the discovery of an evident truth only to hide again. It 

eludes us by constantly transforming into something else, 

contradictory, and unnarratable. Being able to see nuances, hues, 

complexities, makes us free.

Approaching the notion of “identity” through the conceptual prism of 

an “orgy,” presents the viewer with an ironic jest that mocks the 

viewing subject as well as the object viewed. The word “orgy” may 

first bring about associations with the obscene; however, I choose to 

create my own connotations of the word that appeal to unions, 

mixtures, agglomeration of elements and ideas, a jumble of thoughts, 

chaos. Orgy is then the trigger that puts order in the chaos without 

affecting its dramatic apotheosis. The color and the brush strokes 

play with an orgy of genitalia-like forms that undermine any 

identities that aspire to be either fixed or palpable.

The aesthetic composition plays also with the 

retablo/altarpiece/tableau of life in its religious and theatrical 

dimensions. These pieces interlock creating zones that expand and 

contract like a sardonic caterpillar. I intervene small spaces in 

different formats and wide-range of vivid colors that incorporate 

sculptural and tridimensional elements of an altarpiece or a theater 

set design. The exuberant flora of Art Nouveau takes here a Caribbean 

tropical turn. The influence of Pop Art and Kitsch shows in the 

incorporation of plastic characters of children’s games, videogames, 

television, and cinema. Fiber and Installation Art creations 

undermine and subvert nationalist symbols, like flags, and sacred 

concepts, such as, liberty. All representations ultimately explore 

the deceitful nature of the visual where the image one can see in the 

mirror is always distorted and multiple.

Androgyny and fertility dominate the form and the resulting ambiguity 

resists any docile interpretation. The questioning of genders, 

religions, affects, traditions, and nationalist ideologies hide 

behind the sinuous eroticism of an orgy with a cathartic effect and a 

political twist. I appropriate icons, legends, myths, and recreate 

their foundations to fit, on the same stage, components that are 

dissimilar, anomalous, plural, and eclectic. 

These are not flowers…

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