Driven by Self-inflicted Physical Pain


Carlos Martiel Cropped

Carlos Martiel is a controversial artist whose artistic performances are often driven by self-inflicted physical pain, thereby exposing his body to severe and intense conditions. These experiences challenge and alter Martiel’s creative vision, redefining his relationship with art. He has come to realize that his own body is the axis of his conflicts, and the medium through which he evokes his ontological and philosophical concerns.

A Look Inside:

For his most recent project, Condecoracion Carlos Martiel, Martiel uses his own skin as a container element that transcends personal memory, impregnating a symbolic object that raises the question of what it’s like to be a black man in Cuba. To do this, Martiel will surgically remove 6 square centimeters of skin tissue. The tissue will then be dehydrated and dried by a professional taxidermist to prepare a medal similar in shape and proportions to the medal the Cuban government grants to select citizens. After the healing process and post-operative recovery, the technical details of the work will be tattooed around the scar, leaving a record of the award on his body.


Born Cuba, 1989

Education National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro” (Havana)

Awards 2014 recipient of Cannonball (Miami’s visiting resident program in partnership with CIFO), Arte Laguna award (Venice, 2013), Close Up Award (Vallarta, 2012). 2014 Grants & Commissions Award from CIFO.

Selected Exhibitions Nitsch Museum (Naples), Teatro LUX (Guatemala City), Project Room (Quito) and the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center (Havana). Biennials include: IV Biennial Deformes at the Chile University, School of Theatre (Santiago de Chile, 2012), the Eleventh Havana Biennial (Havana, Cuba 2012), the 6th Liverpool Biennial (United Kingdom, 2010), Biennial of Pontevedra XXXI (Galicia, 2010).



Project Proposal Images: