Ramón Serrano, ‘Untitled (No.1), Habana 50-Habana 2000’, 2006, Corkin Gallery

About Ramón Serrano

Working in mediums including painting, photography, drawing, and installation, Ramón Serrano probes ideas around memory, history, politics, architecture, and Cuban identity. In “What You See is What You See” (2003), a series of dour, sinister-looking paintings that depict Hotel Habana Libre, Serrano examines the building’s history and social and political meaning; built in 1950s, the structure was formerly a Hilton Hotel, before, in the early days of the revolution, Castro turned it into his seat of government and renamed it. Working from photos of the structure, Serrano paints the images as if they were a series of double-exposures, suggesting the inability to contain the building’s mythic status and its complex history and associations. Since immigrating to Toronto in 2008, his work has circled around issues of departure, memory and displacement. During his first years in Canada, Serrano explored the isolation of Cubans unable to leave: the tension between captivity and escape. He now explores a different isolation: that of his estrangement from his native country.

Cuban-Canadian, b. 1967, based in Toronto, Canada