Carlos  MARTIEL en photo

Carlos Martiel, a Cuban-American performance artist, has been described as provocative and raw. His explorations of existence’s nature, social barriers, and cultural traditions, have been described as aggressive comments on ethics. 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 minorities and outsiders. For him, “Action is an effort of junction which is translated into a geometrical-performative tension, into grief and nearly mantric ecstasy of a body declined into its unshakable alterity.”

The artist uses his body as a vessel for these expressions, putting it in difficult situations and painful states. By removing his clothes and harming himself, Martiel humbly offers his body as a statement against the prejudices and rejection that he and his hometown have faced. Asentamiento, (2012) is the photographic vestige of Martiel’s performance on the beach of Manta, Ecuador. There, he entered the sea and held a rock over his shoulders for one hour.

In Martiel’s work, the context of belonging and the awareness of his own body are always shown as being the mutable outcome for complex processes of attribution. In Asentamiento, (2012), the desert-like beach is as inhospitable as his feeling. In this art piece, the artist’s body turns into part of the landscape to be crossed and covered, his skin becomes a painting to be personalized and understood with specific signs of belonging.