Ernesto Mateo Rancaño born in Havana, Cuba in 1968 is one of the most internationally well known contemporary artists in Cuba. Graduating in Plastic Arts from the National School of Art in 1991, Rancaño specialised in painting and drawing. After mastering those two fields Rancaño moved onto photography, installation and new media art. His most recent exhibitions have consisted of mainly three dimensional works, a large emphasis being placed on light-box art.

Rancaño’s work has been described as everything from post-medieval to new age, from subtly poetic to dramatic and candid. The truth of his art lies in the chord it strikes with each individual viewer, be it dramatic or subtle. His work seeks to capture the universality in art, whilst simultaneously working to explore his national identity, reflecting upon the state of visual arts in Cuba’s insular sphere as well as in a broader Latin American context. Above all Rancaño’s work is acknowledged as being a somewhat spiritual experience; a space in which one falls into absolute silence in front of the nude figures, the streaming lights and the dancing silhouettes.

Rancaño’s entire oeuvre forms a poem and homage to love, reconciliation, the instant, permanence, to resurrection and to silence. Each one of his works can be read as an essay, layered, structured and presented to the viewer to unfold and dissect, informed only by their own character. Within his works we, the viewer, will discover an essay dedicated to our very own passions, fears and loves. In this way Rancaño perfectly captures the theory of art being a mirror to the soul of the viewer. 

Rancaño’s work is collected internationally and can be found in, to name but a few, Mexico, Jamaica, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, as well as in the collection of singer Sting. He has won a host of awards and has exhibited in many biennials and international art fairs. Rancaño has been a member of the Union of Artists and Writers (UNEAC) since 1995 and is also part of the International Association of Artists (IAA). He has been awarded a Diploma of Artistic Merit by the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA) in Havana and has also been a recipient of the the Djerassi Fellowship Award, San Francisco, California, USA.

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