Isla de la Juventud, Cuba 1970
Lives and works in Havana, Cuba
Kcho, born Alexis Leiva Machado, is a contemporary artist working in sculpture, installation art and mixed-media. He grew up in a small island in Cuba, surrounded by the ocean and its driftwoods, fishing nets, rope and ship propellers scattered across beaches.
Throughout his oeuvre Kcho have been utilizing these items as figures in his artistic imagery, depicting boats and boat-like forms using recycled materials, like bottles and lumber salvaged from docks. The notion that nothing is permanent, and everything transforms in the present, is ubiquitous throughout his work. This key component in his art is a clear reference to a culture of recycling very dear to Kho’s origins, in his own words; “I use waste materials because in the Cuban daily life there is a lot of recycling, we cannot afford to throw anything, we have been educated like this. My installations and sculptures have a life before that of my work because everything is recycled, life goes on”.
Kcho’s work can be read as ensembles of icons that reach monumental statures through the repetition of simple forms and ordinary materials – a veritable lexicon of island life, close to the ocean. The result is a poetic tale of the Cuban landscape and culture that forges a reflection on travel and environment, on the continual evolution of time and matter.