Susana Pilar

El Tanque
Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo (Cuba)

The notions of sacrifice and pain implied by the desire to reach an aesthetic canon of beauty different from her own, are the two cornerstones of the performance unveiled in El Tanque, where the transformation undergone by the body to attempt to conform to a socially acceptable ideal of beauty. To illustrate the physical pain represented by this metamorphosis, Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo disables her hair with a hot metal comb. As soon as the operation is complete, she then plunges her head into a container of cold water until the effects of the hair treatment are completely dissolved and her hair regains its original texture.

Susana Pilar was born in Cuba in 1984 and currently lives and works in La Havana. From 2011 to 2013 she followed a Postgraduate course in New Media at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG) with a DAAD Scholarship. She was an artist in residence at the Darling Foundry in Montreal, Cananda, in 2009, at Villa Waldberta in Munich, Germany, in 2010, at MAP Residency in ARTEZ (organized by the Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes and TransArtists) in Enschede, The Netherlands, in 2010-2011, at the Stiftung Künstledorf Schöppingen, Germany, in 2013, at KulturKontakt Vienna, Austria, in 2014, at SKÖVDE, Skövde, Sweden, in 2016, at the Dance Hall Fire Hall, Calgary, Canada, in 2016, at the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna, Austria, in 2017, at the Fondazione Macc, Calasetta, Italy, in 2018.

She was the recipient of the second edition of the Maretti Award in La Havana in 2014, the Apexart Fellowship, New York, in 2016, the Grants & Commissions Program Award, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, in 2019 and the CAD+SR Research Fellowship, Spoleto and Nairobi in 2019-2020.

She had solo shows entitled Body present, Kiosk, Ghent, Belgium (2019); Jardinera, Galleria Continua, Les Moulins, France (2018-2019); Dibujo intercontinental, Galleria Continua, Havana, Cuba (2017); Un chino de paso en Venecia…camino a Cuba, ICI VENICE, Italy (2017); Bala perdida, Villa Manuela Gallery, Havana, Cuba (2017); Reclaiming meaning, Skövde Art Museum, Skövde, Sweden (2016); Tropiques Héritage in Gallery André Arsenec, Tropiques Atrium, Fort de France, Martinique (2015), Dominadora inmaterial, Salle Zéro, Havana, Cuba (2014); Fiebre cerebral, Villa de Bank, Enschede, The Netherlands (2011); Llave maestra, Salle Zéro, Havana, Cuba (2010).

This year she takes part in An Emphasis on Resistance: 2019 Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Grants & Commissions Program Exhibition, Museo del Barrio, New York; Cross currents, DuSable Museum and Smart Museum in partnership with National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago; Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy, and Materiality, Cranbrook Art Museum’s Detroit; 13 Havana Biennale, Cuba and Altered states, WUK, Vienna, Austria.

In 2018 she participated in exhibitions such as Resilience and Resistance in African Diaspora, New Museum of African Civilizations, Dakar, Senegal; AKAA – Also Known As Africa Art Fair, Paris, France; Herencia, Saco 7 Contemporary Art Festival, Foundation Minera Escondida, Antofagasta, Chile; INTERCAMBIO: A Conversation Between Two Trains, BLINDSIDE, Melbourne, Australia.

In 2017 she participates in the 13 Bienal de Artes Mediales, Santiago de Chile; Cuba mi Amor, Galleria Continua, Les Moulins, France; ¿soy Cuba?, Palazzina, Teatro Franco Parenti, Milan, Italy; Dobleplay. Fotografía cubana, 1990-2017, Fotomuseo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City; Kunst x Kuba, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany; Back to Havana, Alabama Contemporary Art Center, US; Übersee: Kuba und die Bahamas, HALLE 14, Leipzig, Germany; Disembodied panopticum (shifting metaphor), ROSPHOTO Centre, St-Petersbourg, Russia; Archivo XX, Acacia Gallery, Havana, Cuba, and South-South: Let me begin again, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2016 at Nido sin árbol, UNAICC, Havana, Cuba; Touch the reality, Kunstraum Nierderoesterreich, Vienna, Austria; CUBA. Tatuare la storia, Padiglione Arte Contemporanea PAC/Zisa Zona Arti Contemporanee ZAC, Milan and Palermo, Italy; Sabor metálico, Villa Manuela Gallery, Havana; New Talents Biennale 2016, Cologne, Germany; Kuba libre, Kunsthalle Rostock, Germany; Señales de Cuba: propuestas femeninas, European Parliament, UNESCO, Paris/Antwerp and Intersecciones: Havana-Portland, Portland, Oregon, US.

In 2015 at Anclados en el territorio, Galleria Continua, Havana, Cuba; Inversion: ART PRESENT project, Sometimes Art Space, Havana, Cuba; Devenir animal, devenir intense, devenir imperceptible, FAC, Havana, Cuba; Intimate transgressions, White Box, New York, US; 12 Havana Biennale, Cuba and the 56th International Art Exhibition, Cuban Pavilion, Venice, Italy.

In 2014 she took part in the collective show Variaciones contempladas en silencio, Museum of Cuban Art, Havana, Cuba; Las otras narraciones, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, Havana, Cuba; xl’2, Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art, Centro de Desarrollo de Arte Visuales, Havana, Cuba; y sucedió por fin, Habana Gallery, Cuba; 4:20, This is not a coffee place, Cuba, and Artists in Residence June 2014, Bundeskanzleramtes am Concordiaplatz, Vienna, Austria.

In 2013 she took part in following group exhibitions: Cuban Art, feminine voices (1990-2013), Cara and Cabezas Contemporary Gallery, San Francisco, US; Cuban virtualities, Tufts University, Boston, US; Biografía Dilatada, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, US, and the first Biennale of International Contemporary Art, Martinique. In 2012 she was in the 11th Havana Biennale and the Prome Encuentro Bienal Arte Contemporaneo di Caribe, Aruba. In 2011 she took part in the third Biennale Arts Actuels Réunion, Reunion Island; Torbellino II, Habana Gallery, Cuba; Again and Again curated by Adrian Paci, Galleria La Veronica arte contemporánea, Modica, Italy.

In 2010: El extremo de la bala in Pabellón Cuba; Torbellino, Parroquia Santísima Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba; The European Book Art Biennale, Art Museum Satu-Mare, Romania; SUPERNORMAL Festival at Braziers Park, England; Satellite 2010, Experimental Gallery, Juvenal Reis Art Studios and Residencies, New York, US. During 2009 she took part in the X Bienal de La Habana with two collective exhibitions: State of exception, Habana Gallery, and Simulacros, Villena  Gallery. The same year she presented her work in the extra walls exhibition All that is solid melts into air curated by M HKA in Mechelen, Belgium, and Maybe Dick II: The Second Youtube Film Festival, Studio Béluga, Montreal, Canada.

In 2008 and 2009 she was part of Medium Religion curated by Boris Groys and Peter Weibel at the Center of Art and New Media (ZKM) Karlsruhe, Germany, and at the Model Art and Niland Gallery, Sligo, Ireland. In 2008 her work was shown at the 7th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea.