Artist Profile: Adislén Reyes Pino

A_9-lighter Adislén Reyes Pino was born in Havana in 1984. She graduated from the Higher Institute of Arts and the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts, where she is now working as a professor. Pino’s work has been exhibited in several solo exhibitions in Havana, Cuba. Her work has been featured in the Taipei Fine Art Museum in China, The Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Costa Rica.

Pino draws her inspiration from the personal narrative. Her creative process stems from the idea that the personal angst of the individual often reflects the trepidation of the public realm.

Adislén spoke with Assistant Director, Maria Guerrero (via email) about her work relating to the pieces currently on exhibition in the gallery. The interview has been translated from Spanish; the original is available for download here.


Hi Maria,

In the series Crisis, part of the personal crisis process can correspond with another crisis that occurred previously at a generational level, sparking all kinds of questions and placing ourselves in a state of vulnerability and expectation. 

The works convey a calm, associated to the moment before or after a crisis; they reflect the complexities that arise from the creative process and how they influence psychological, ethical and social factors.  It talks about the relationship between the artist and their work, and how the creation process can be made long and systematic, manifesting itself into a relationship that oscillates between dialogue and lack of communication; closeness and distance.


Can you explain in more detail what kind of crises you are referring to?

It all stems from a personal and existential crisis that I had which sparked my creative process.  At the same time, the result can be read like the crisis of an entire generation that may have many questions, anxieties, dissatisfactions and worries that are similar to mine. 


Can you explain the use of paper and graphic style?

I choose drawing on paper (card stock) as the primary exercise to capture ideas... it’s a systematic exercise each artist performs. In this series, I incorporate discarded materials in their own series to create new works. For example, drawings that came out wrong and were crumpled and tossed or the broken points from a pencil.  I recycle them, creating works that allude to these drawings that were never made. These points of a pencil that cannot draw anymore, but at the same time find a form of revenge inside each series trying to destroy the figure of the girl (me-the artist). The illustration and the graphic style bring a level of synthesis that I could not find in another visual style. 

Explain how the style of your drawings comments on the concept of "crisis"?

I am interested in reflecting on the crisis from a totally opposite visual from what we associate with a crisis. I want to steer away from chaos because I want to convey tranquility, so I think many times when we are in a crisis we try to behave and look like nothing happened. Therefore the drawing style is simple, clean, but the ideas of the precarious moments allude to the tension we feel in a crisis that cause us to go into an existential state of mind.


I want to know more about your process: how do you choose the paper and how do you choose the cartoons?

The girl, the main character,  I have been working since 2007.  Initially it had no age, no sex, no name and I used it to address the issue of gender and identity ambiguity from every point of view. With time it became more self-referential. In “Crisis”, the character is defined as a girl for the first time. In this series the character alludes to me, but at the same time to the figure of the artist. Meanwhile the dog (a character I use for the first time in this series) embodies the art itself.  The whole time the series chronicles the relationship between the artist (girl) and their work (dog), as a variable relationship, because sometimes it manifests itself as love and other times it manifests as hate, dependency, etc. I work on the paper or the compositions with my hands and it’s almost a therapeutic process. I rub the graphite with my fingertips or rip the paper by hand.

Any other information for the Crisis series?

Crisis series began in 2015 but I am currently still working on it. It functions as a kind of diary because it is an exercise for me. I showed it at the Havana Biennial in 2015, in a personal exhibition that just title: Crisis.



Straight from Cuba: A Woman's Perspective is currently on exhibition at the Lois Lambert Gallery through July 10th.