Jairo Alfonso


Throughout his career, Jairo Alfonso has been interested in exploring material culture from an archaeological perspective, particularly the multilayered nature of objects, their history and symbolism. His work is a reflection on the relationship we, as human beings, establish with the objects we create, use, and discard. In previous bodies of work Alfonso has addressed the compulsion for us to accumulate objects. More recently he has explored the viewing of digital objects via the internet, in the series “Online Collection” for which he previously created a photographic archive of images downloaded from the net. Whilst compiling digital archives Alfonso explored the representation of human beings in figurines, small sculptures, and toys with the intention to create a new series of large scale drawings. However  the onset of the Covid crisis and confinement at home without access to his large studio Alfonso created this new unintended series. The resultant small format watercolours on paper called Screenshots is an extension of Alfonso’s research into material culture. 

Jairo Alfonso (Havana) is a Cuban artist living and working in New York. He is a graduate from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) in Havana. Alfonso has been featured in more than ten solo exhibitions worldwide and in over 60 group shows. His works have been part of important shows, such as Useless: Machines for Dreaming, Thinking and Seeing at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2019); Flow: Economies of the Look and Creativity in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean, Washington DC (2014); Cuban America: An Empire State of Mind, Lehmann College Art Gallery, New York (2014); Occupying, Building, Thinking: Poetic and Discursive Perspectives on Contemporary Cuban Video Art (1990-2010), Contemporary Art Museum (USF) Tampa (2013); Politics: I don’t like it, but it likes me, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdanks (2013); Killing Time: An exhibition of Cuban artists from the 80s to the present, Exit Art, New York (2007); Batiscafo/ Proyecto Circo. 8 Bienal do Mercosul. Ensaios de Geopoética, Porto Alegre (2011); Instrumentaciones (Solo show) at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, Havana (2000), to name a few.

He has participated in various artist residencies such as The Fountainhead Residency, Miami (2019), Marble House Project, Vermont (2015), Guttenberg Arts, New Jersey (2014) among others. He is also a recipient of a Pollock- Krasner Foundation Grant (2017). His work is part of public and private collections such as the Pérez Art Museum Miami; the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles; the Permanent Collection of the Province of Hainaut; the Havana Galerie Collection, Zürich, among others.