Leon Center Collections

José Cestero was born in Santo Domingo and at 1950 he began his artistic training at the National School of Fine Arts, in the same city. He later traveled to New York, where he studied art, with a specialization in drawing, at Mills Cooper School of Arts, Columbia University. In 1960, after his return to the Dominican Republic, he joined the avant-garde group Arte y Liberación, a collective that brought together artists from different disciplines during the turbulent 1960 decade.

Cestero celebrates the change and versatility in its reinvention capacity. In Diptych for Mutanville, the artist uses the assembly of old papers and in bad conditions with annotations in ink extracted from texts by Octavio Paz, as well as a fragment of the seventeenth-century novel by Francisco Javier Angulo Guridi. The work recreates characters like the woman who is seen wandering around the Sanctuary of Altagracia, and who is represented with needles in the eyes; there are also buildings that blur, a human figure with a dog and a caricatured self-portrait of the artist. The piece is inspired by the experimental novel of the same name, written by Arturo Rodríguez Fernández, which refers to grotesque and decadent characters. This drawing pays homage to the marginalized beings and to the moral decomposition of the colonial legacy, which has been one of the central interests of the artist.

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