Antuan Rodriguez, Punching Bags, “The Other Dimension”

Cuban-born, Antuan Rodriguez’s multimedia project, “Left to Right, makes a poignant political statement; as is expected from someone who finds freedom after fleeing the negative environment of a constricting regime. The project consists of punching bags with printed faces of dictators, leaders, and politicians from a variety of countries with different political inclinations.

The purpose of the project is helping to heal the mind and soul through interactions with the punching bags – enabling people of all races and backgrounds to release repressed negative energies. Emotions like anger and greed and can cause physical ailments and mental illness. This initiative does not promote violence; it is a form of healing the soul by punching a politician/world leader whose negativity poisons the world for the rest of us.

Antuan Rodriguez, Trump Mop, 2016

A commentary on abuse of power, and on injustice, “Left to Right” – envisioned and created in Cuba in 1998 – calls out demagogues, racists, and those who employ public power to satisfy their greed. It speaks out against those who misuse their power to control and divide, to amass wealth and promote discord. A mere eight bags with faces, the project was first exhibited in museums, art centers, and fairs in 2004. By 2012, growing to 23 bags. New faces emerging each year, culminating with Donald Trump’s in 2016.

Antuan firmly believes artists must commit to proposing projects capable of positively transforming pertinent national and international issues. Art, as a way of healing, benefits the human race. He extends an invitation to the public to interact with the punching bags, to release negative energy and frustration in a peaceful way.

“Keep Your Life Clean,” a very similar concept as “Left to Right,” consists of mops that keep our lives and the lives of negative characters clean. The concept revolves around the premise that we must heal their souls and clean the filth.

Art Basel Week 2016, MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami launched Antuan’s, “The Other Dimension.” An exhibition addressing the constant human concern for universal communication by way of codes, forms, symbols; curated by Jorge Luis Gutierrez. It reveals an artist who sees the universe from cultural, philosophical, and scientific perspectives interwoven into one approach. Symbolizing five narratives barely different from one another; arranged in seven separate rooms -each extreme quite distinct. The creative’s innovative layout throughout the spaces depicting his ingenuity and commitment to the project.

“I work diverse and mixed media in art. Art has a great relationship with seduction. I like that art may alter our perception. It scripts history and feeds on the present to denounce the future. More than aesthetics, art is history. There are two recurrent elements in my art: the object and the human form.” –Antuan

Born in Villa Clara, Cuba, January 9, 1972, the artist attended the San Alejandro National Academy of Arts in Havana, and Felix Villa University in Villa Clara. Leaving Cuba for France to continue his training and education in art, he earned a Master in Bronze Casting under the direction of sculptor Josep Castell in Perpein. Relocating to Spain and receiving a Fine Arts Scholarship by the Bancaja Foundation in Valencia, Spain for a Master Program specializing in Iron and Resin at the Atelier D’Art Ros Mari in Valencia.

In 2010, Antuan designed and produced, Base Paint at Miami’s Epic Hotel during Art Basel Miami Beach; a monumental humanitarian project in which Caribbean artists decorated tents to use as classrooms for Haitians children victims of the earthquake. The project also executed and widely acclaimed debuted in Port Au Prince.

His work is studied and assessed by critics and curators such as Paco Barragan, (Spain), Noel Smith (USA), Dennys Matos (Cuba), Jorge Luis Gutierrez (USA-Venezuela) and Orlando Britto Jinorio (Spain); among others. Many art reviews, articles and books including Latino America Al Limite/Arte Latino Americano Contemporaneo, Art.Es Magazine, Spain, Primera Triennial Internacional del Caribe, Santo Domingo, 2010, Panama Biennial feature his work.

His latest exhibitions and venues include Global Caribbean IV, Miami, USA, 2012; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Cadiz Spain, 2014. Instituto Buena Bista and IPS Center for Contemporary Art, Curacao, 2014; VideoConcreta, Matucana 100 Art Center, Chile, 2015; CINTAS Foundation Fellows Finalist Exhibition, Freedom Tower Museum of Art Design, Miami, 2016. A solo exhibition Vibración 7.8 at the Museum of Modern Art, Santo Domingo, 2016 and another solo exhibition The Other Dimension for Art Basel at Museum of Contemporary Art of North Miami, Miami, 2016.