contemporary art / history of art

Glenda León

Born in 1976 in Havana, Cuba, Glenda León had a first artistic education at the School of Plastic Art “20 de octubre” in Havana. Followed by an instruction in classical ballet in the Centro Prodanza, she studied also art history at the University of Havana. Additionally, she made her Master in Art at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany and had a research scholarship from the MAEC in Madrid. Furthermore, she was several times artist in residence in Canada, France, Panama, Philippines and the United States and was honoured by Cuban and international awards, inter alia the Premio LARA 2017 by the Asiaciti Trust Foundation, the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant and the UNESCO prize for the Arts at the VII Biennale of Havana.

The oeuvre of Glenda is very versatile. Besides videos, she creates objects, sculptures and installations. These might reappear in interventions in public space. Moreover, she makes drawings and photos. Additionally, she published several artist books for example a series called “Fragmented Reading”, where a triangle part of the book is cut out and presented as piece of cake on a white plate.

In her work, Glenda often reflects upon conditions in societies. In 2018, she created a series with ancient typewriters. Depending on her additions to the machine, the objects are aiming at language and its fervent applicability (Incendiary discourse), at the fragility of elements added to the body for aesthetic purposes (Noli me tangere – or the impossible writing) or at the insatiable appetite for taking and not giving (The insatiable writer).

Glenda seized money and its conventions several times. The video “Inversion II” from 2011, our artwork of the month June 2019, witnesses this interest likewise the later version from 2016 (Inversion III). This video is similarly structured, but has another ending. Also in 2016, she published a pocket version of the Holy Bible, where 50 One-US-Dollar-notes are added to the binding.

Since 1999, Glenda’s creations were presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Latin and North America and Europe, but also in Senegal (Dakar Biennale) and China. Her sound installation “Music of the Spheres” was part of the Cuban Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Currently (Summer 2019), her works are on view in group exhibitions in Havana, BilbaoToulouse and Assier. Until 20th July, she has the solo exhibition “Escuchando las Estrellas” in Turin at Recontemporary. “Inversion II” is also projected there.

Glenda’s works are part of many public and private collections in Cuba and abroad, for example Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Centre George Pompidou, Paris, and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Glenda lives and works in Havana and Madrid.


Artwork of the month / June 2019