Lázaro Saavedra was born in Havana in 1964. As such he was one of the first generations of artists to benefit from a rigorous art education beginning at the Escuela Elemental de Artes Plásticas, progressing to the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro and culminating in the Instituto Superior de Arte set up in 1976.

Now considered a maestro of the Cuban art scene and winner of the National Art Prize in Cuba, Saavedra has long been defined and known by his use of satirical and allegorical commentary, proving to be powerful critical statements on subject types ranging from the commercialisation of the art market to subtle political commentary. Saavedra’s work can be described as being versatile in medium, he has stated that for him the medium is dictated by the subject. He works from the inside to the outside. In this sense he has described his works as morphological. His works vary from simple sketches and drawing boards to complex installations and conceptual video pieces.

Having trained as a conceptual artist, Saavedra began working with installation art in the early 90s commenting on current affairs in Cuba, most notably focusing on the fall out of the Special Period. Many of his works have become icons of the 80s 90s and early 2000s, most notably his painting El Sagrado Corazón and Detector de Ideologías, both commenting on the politics of their time.

Saavedra argues that the 80s generation of artists, also known as the New Cuban Art movement were ignorant to the art market and used gallery spaces as ‘philanthropic spaces in which the artist communicated with the public… only later did [they] see them as commercial spaces.’ Although Saavedra is one of the most internationally well known and marketable artists, he maintains that selling is never his intention in the creative process. His famous humorous dealings of serious subject types is just his way of conversing with internal conflicts and giving them expression.

Saavedra, still living and work in Havana, has exhibited worldwide in a number of important biennials, art fairs and collective exhibitions. His work can be found in collections across the world. The artist himself has links to many international institutions such as iniva in London. 

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