Raúl Cordero is a contemporary artist born in 1971 in Havana, Cuba. He currently lives in Mexico City. He studied fine arts and design at Academia San Alejandro and ISDI, in Havana, Cuba; and later at the Graphic Media Development Centre and the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, in Holland.
The main focus in Raúl Cordero’s work is human virtue and its constant need to emerge. Specifically, in arts and other cultural manifestations. He also explores ideas such as cultural validation, transcendence and classicism. By means of recurring motives that he transforms and revisits, he defends his own universe through his work, using computers and printing media to “re-construct” images that will finally become traditional oil paintings. Taking his deep knowledge of western tradition of painting as a frame of reference, his work constantly revolutionizes the pictorial process by relying on contemporary technological breakthroughs. He uses this technology to celebrate the grandiloquence of the most important and historically innovative medium in art history: Painting.
The relationship between what is apparently “old”, or “new” is also very important in Cordero’s work. We live in a time when, due to the rapid pace at which technology has been replacing science and intellectual rigor, something “new” appears every single day —even in art. “New” is not a value anymore; it is a daily condition. For this reason, Cordero focuses on the symbolism of the obsolete, of what is no longer “useful”, but rather exists only for its aesthetic and ethical importance. This also grounds his preference for painting, whose importance nowadays is also more symbolic than functional, given that the slow and obsessive way of creating a traditional painting is inconsistent with the speed at which images are currently “obtained”.
His paintings depict the cohabitation of both a deconstructed figuration (soft-edge) and abstract forms (hard-edge), as well as a very personal way of adding and overlapping texts referring to the daily experience of making art nowadays. These texts are pierced to semi-transparent elements that feign crystalline “windows”, distorting the classical figure-ground perception. As a result, his work connects the figurative pictorial language with its subsequent metamorphosis into abstraction and modernism. At the same time, it questions how visual language has given way to textual information in contemporary art.
His work can be seen in public collections around the world, including the Musée National D’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, in the United States of America; El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, in Havana, Cuba; The Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Gent, Belgium; El Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno and Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC) in Spain; among many others. His work is represented by Mai 36 Galerie, in Zürich, Switzerland.