René Francisco Rodríguez is an internationally recognized contemporary Cuban artist with a diverse body of work. He works across different media (e.g., installation, sculpture, video, painting, photography, and performance) to consistently challenge the boundaries between art and everyday life, and explore the personal and social contexts of artistic production. His work draws on creative traditions of institutional critique and collective involvement by artists such as Marcel Broodhaers, Hans Haacke and, in particular, Joseph Beuys.
Francisco has always explored collaborative working methods. In his early career during the 1980s, he produced a number of paintings and drawings with fellow Cuban artist Eduardo Ponjuán. While his partnership with Ponjuán ended in 1990, Francisco initiated the collective Galería DUPP (Desde una Pedagogía Pragmática) from 1989–2000. DUPP represents an important moment in Cuban art not only in terms of the emphasis on collaborative action, performance and the urban environment but also in terms of the intersection of art and pedagogy; Francisco started the collective with his students in the interest of reenvisioning professor-student as well as artist-society relations. The collective produced a number of exhibitions and social actions in untraditional spaces throughout Havana, and their project for the 7th Havana Biennial was awarded a UNESCO prize. Francisco is a professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Havana, holds an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute, and has exhibited internationally in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States. His project Nin’s Patio (2005), part of a film trilogy (Rosa’s House, 2003; the third is forthcoming) documenting his collaborative interventions in Havana’s El Romerillo district, was included in the 9th Havana Biennial.
The Visible City Project is fortunate that Réne Francisco has contributed a selection of his own video works to our archive. The earliest work in the following list, Paintings by request, free, was created in Santa Cruz del Valle, Spain. Everyone in the village was invited to request a painting of their choice from the artist. The other videos represent a series of collaborative projects, most of which were produced with DUPP.
- Saara Liinamaa