The Book, the Egg, and the Fly
David Castillo Gallery is proud to present Fabian Peña’s The Book, the Egg and the Fly.
The Book, the Egg and the Fly by Fabian Peña embraces the decadence and decay of Mikhail Bakhtin’s grotesque realism. Peña’s paintings—done in egg shells and fly carcasses—readdress printed messages from books, magazines and advertising, corrupting the integrity of the original texts by representing them in these base materials.
Degradation sits at the center of grotesque realism, where abstract principles, ideals, beliefs and practices are lowered to the material level. Peña anchors the cultural, commercial and political ideologies espoused across a diversity of texts down to the status of household pests and detritus. His is a material satire; a cutting commentary which transforms our cultural imaginary through visual turns of phrase.
As a Cuban artist working in the United States, the dichotomies of American Capitalism and Fidel Castro’s Communism play across Peña’s corruptions of public propaganda. His criticisms reveal the tenuous truths of their original messages, asking his audience to consider the often unsavory consequences and legacies that lie in the shadows of our cultural mythologies. The Egg and The Fly are themselves elements that augment, contradict, inform and articulate new ways of understanding The Book; a proxy for our grand narratives.
There is a resourcefulness to Peña’s practice, embracing not only found materials but unwanted ones. The Book, the Egg and the Fly, with the sing-song cadence of a fairy tale, refers to the artist’s distinct material vocabulary and the visceral storytelling it authors. The exhibition is a mirror held up to our media landscape—fake news, demagogues, pundits, and consumerism—revealing it all to be rubbish.
Fabian Peña was born in Havana, Cuba and lives and works in Miami, Florida. He studied at Superior Institute of Arts in Havana. Peña’s work has been shown extensively throughout the US, Europe and Latin America. His work has been featured in notable publications, including The New York Times, and The Miami Herald. Recent exhibitions include Liquid Sensibilities (2016) at CIFO Miami, Zona Ciega (2015) at the Bienal de la Habana as well as previous exhibitions such as Dead or Alive at the Museum of Art and Design in New York and New Work Miami at Miami Art Museum, among others.