Yornel Martinez

Using visuals to transcend the limits of language

“I attempt to leave a poetic imprint of the untranslatable in terms of language.”

Yornel Martínez wants us to consider the relationship between words and images. The Havana-born post-conceptual artist takes language, recontextualizes it, and challenges us think about its meaning. Books, fonts, archives and more have been the subject of Yornel’s artful reimaginings.

Inspired by history’s poets and storytellers, Yornel is more likely to be found strolling the colorful streets of Havana than chained to his studio. Freedom over structure. To be sure, the freedom to interpret and reinterpret underpins Yornel’s paintings, drawings and installations. His mission is to understand culture as a map, and to find innovative vessels with which to communicate it.

For the latter half of 2017, Yornel is a resident of the Basel Davidoff Art Residency, which hosts select artists from the Caribbean. His artwork has been exhibited in Havana at Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, in Brussels at CAB Art Center, in the United States at Portland’s The Hoffman Gallery, the Phoenix Art Museum, and more.

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