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Kadir López


Kadir López, artist, and Michelle Bird, curatorial assistant, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Kadir López Nieves was born in 1972 in the province of Las Tunas. His talent was recognized at the age of twelve, when he was chosen to receive formal art training in Cuba's educational system. He graduated from the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA) in Havana in 1995. Kadir came to artistic maturity at a time when the image and illusion of the Cuban Revolution were greatly diminished. Much of his work is inspired by a meditation on time: blurring past, present, and future, he critiques the effects of progress, or lack thereof, in spiritual, economic, and political arenas. In his recent Signs, Kadir repurposes porcelain-lacquered steel advertising signs from prerevolutionary Cuba by fusing black-and-white photographs onto them. The irony of the juxtaposition provides a more complicated reading of the island's history. In this conversation, which took place on October 17, 2011, as part of the Works in Progress series at the National Gallery of Art, Kadir López discusses his practice and recent work with Michelle Bird.