José yaque

'Tierra Madre' 

February - March 2017


David Gill Gallery
2-4 King Street
St. James's, London


David Gill Gallery presents José Yaque’s solo exhibition Tierra Madre, in collaboration with Galleria Continua. Tierra Madre is the first London solo exhibition by the Cuban artist. 

In order to prepare this new body of work, the Artist did a residency in London during October 2016. Over several weeks, José painted various canvases in different formats and colours, created charcoal drawings and sketched the projects of the installations, to be shown as Tierra Madre. The title of the exhibition alludes to the close relation of the artist’s work with nature, the riches of nature and the materials that make it up. The artworks emerge from the inspiration and the dialogue, which form and visualize nature in each component of the exhibition.  

Yaque’s special way of painting and his interrelation with his materials cause the resultant paintings, some of very large dimensions, to enhance the media he uses causing an apparent abstraction with each work taking on a telluric and almost dramatic force.  His drawings speak to us of the treasures inside great mining quarries. These “open-air mines”, as he calls them, reveals a relationship with nature, based on the beauty of the most refined stroke. The installations mix natural elements such as earth of different origins, stones, mineral components and recovered books, which are integrated into this substratum, framed by elegant showcases which harbour this new genesis in their interior. 

In Yaque’s own words:

“I observe all this, which is denominated “media” as one single thing which is at my disposal, I simply don’t distinguish between one and another in my process. Before, drawing was a resource, but nowadays I employ it as an almost verbal form of communication. This line I make now, for me is a becoming, it’s a representation, which I later endow with a body, a physical or three-dimensional presence in the installations. On occasion it has to do with a single idea or a single object which is transfigured or transformed into something else apparently different, but in its essence it’s the same thing.”

This exhibition also serves as a leitmotiv to celebrate a long friendship, through love of art and commitment to young artists, between the David Gill Gallery and Galleria Continua. David Gill met José Yaque two years ago in Havana in the company of Lorenzo Fiaschi, one of the founders of Galleria Continua. Since then he has supported his work in various ways.

A catalogue in book form has been published for the occasion. This compilation, printed in two volumes, is divided into one section dedicated to the painting, and the second to the installations and drawings. The paintings shown respond to the period of Yaque’s creations from the end of 2014, beginning with his personal exhibition “Magma”, up to the works created during his residence in London at the behest of David Gill Gallery. The textual material is composed of two interviews realized by the curator Laura Salas Redondo in 2014 and 2016, which also give a timeframe for his work and thoughts, accompanied by a critical text by Elizabeth Pozo Rubio.


José Yaque was born in 1985 in Manzanillo (Cuba), a very special city which in recent years has seen the development of an excellent generation of young Cuban creators.  At present he lives and works in Havana. He studied at the Cuban Superior Institute of Art, graduating in 2011, and has carried out various personal and collective exhibitions in Cuba and in various places in the world, such as Glasgow, Madrid, San Gimignano, Paris, Warsaw. His artworks form a part of various private and museum collections. His next exhibitions will be in New York at the Rockefeller Foundation residence and in Detroit.  José Yaque forms part of the Cuban Pavillion at the 57th Venice Biennale.

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