Raúl Cordero: Heaven is a Place in the Mind
1. A solo exhibition of the Cuban artist Raúl Cordero, featuring 17 paintings, 2 installations, 4 NFTs, and 1 RTG Print
2. Cuban-born conceptual artist known for his blurry paintings that corporate conceptual text elements
Richard Taittinger Gallery announces the New York representation of the Cuban Artist, Raúl Cordero (b. 1971) and presents his first New York solo exhibition in almost fifteen years. This exhibition, HEAVEN IS A PLACE IN THE MIND, is based on 24 works (17 paintings, 2 installations, 4 NFTs, and 1 RTG Print) that demonstrate one’s understanding of our current society and how we obtain information through distracting elements and sated visuals.
RTG asked Cordero to discuss his remarkable new work and upcoming exhibition:
“Every era has its own poetry. I am particularly interested in the poetry of this current era, where I live. We all write and publish constantly these days and type what we want in search boxes from food to transportation to dreams to sex — are we all poets for this? For me, this newfound poetry expands into hashtags, acronyms, and gender pronouns; all tools that we use to communicate with each other. It brings curiosity towards platforms, such as Google, that have indexed life through text, according to its own algorithms and interests.
Through the works in this exhibition, I recount TALES FROM AN INDEXED WORLD, as well as my own assumption that today's REALITY IS THE NEW SPAM. Finding out in the end that HEAVEN IS A PLACE IN THE MIND, which is probably the closest I have been able to attain a set conclusion with my contemplative attitude towards life.”
This exhibition is structured in three sections starting with the anterior of the gallery, TALES FROM AN INDEXED WORLD, a series of paintings that explore how our world has become indexed through algorithms and platforms such as Google. As an amusing experiment, Cordero uses his search results from typing “THE” into a search engine to create his potent yet poetic text within the paintings.
REALITY IS THE NEW SPAM, is the second series of collections located in the gallery’s mezzanine, a collection of square-framed black and white filtered paintings that lay dimensionless underneath voluminous and vivid shapes. These paintings are Cordero’s understanding of our new reality — a hyperstimulated and highly active environment. It is his impression of an “obstructed reality” where you cannot clearly see what’s behind the shapes but the painting isn’t fully blocked either.
Lastly, HEAVEN IS A PLACE IN THE MIND is a collection all about light. Similar to traditional painting techniques, Cordero uses light sources as a focal point to compare euphoric feelings to our societal dream of being the greatest, the fastest, or the richest. With our accessibility to technology, we have adopted a “grass is always greener on the other side” mentality; always searching for the best and not so much existing in the present. Cordero’s finale powerfully retorts that the real heaven is all about the state of your mind. The series is intentionally placed on the rear side of the gallery.
Cordero’s “style” is more than the stroke of a brush or a preferred color palette; it’s anti-style. He uses anti-typography, the infamous gold-dotted symbols, to create a language that is cryptic in its message. Contrasted by the blurred images, there is a sense of juxtaposed embossment with the anti-typography, evoking a stronger focus when perceived. Through the evolving digital era, people tend to accurately focus if there is a sense of multitasking; Raúl Cordero’s work is the epitome of this belief. With his trickery at play, overstimulated image and enigmatic signage causes the viewer to not only intently focus but to take a moment and feel his words instead of computing them.
“Art isn’t a message, it’s an emotion. If the emotion isn’t there, then the message or idea won’t be either.”
Cordero uses “three ranges” to perform his poetry: (a) wide-open spaces such as scenic landscapes, (b) things and people such as lighting, interior, and portraits, (c) assimilated versions of quantum space such as ether and energetic vibration; paired all together they blend the conceptional with the technical. His technique extends homage to spatial awareness, as humans, we tend to give attention to what we see and little to what we don’t see. Cordero curiously plays with the oscillating relationships of communication: image and text, positive space and negative space, film and video, ether and electricity, traditional and modern.
While manipulating images, mischievously sculpting acronym fixtures, and painting with contemporary colors, Cordero represents the current state of reality. After an invitation to publish a collection with Nifty Gateway in 2020, he started to produce NFT artworks on platforms, Nifty Gateway and Rarible, which are one-of-a kind virtual collectibles. In 2021, Cordero started making NFT artworks for Richard Taittinger Gallery. His NFTs connect his work in painting, video, and installations with his lifelong digital production.
Raúl Cordero states, “Art should document the zeitgeist of its time” and he has successfully done so.
Alongside HEAVEN IS A PLACE IN THE MIND, Raúl Cordero is having his first solo interactive exhibition, THE POEM, with Barry Schwabsky in Times Square on March 24 - April 24, 2022, in collaboration with Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The public art installation is dedicated to the memory of Cuban Writer Reinaldo Arenas, a poet and rebel to the Cuban government.