Cabeza blanca [White Head], from the series Untitled Album, 2009–2016
Digital Chromogenic Print, Printed in 2017, Edition 2/10, 22 ½ x 29 ½ inches, signed in marker on certificate
Courtesy of the artist
A self-taught Cuban photographer, René Peña earned his degree in English at the Instituto Superior Pedagógico de Lenguas Extranjeras (ISPLE) of La Habana in 1978. He joined the Cuban artistic world at the end of the 1980s and the new trends in Cuban photography in the early 1990s. First dealing with interiors and domestic situations in Cuba, he later went deeper into themes like negritude, sexual ambiguity, and the influence of consumerism and the market through self-portraits.
Peña developed his series through a conceptual and formal analysis which is structurally different from most pre-established parameters, going from a brutal expressionism to a marked homoeroticism; in his work, he has included strong mystic elements and a certain theatrical treatment of the staging of his images.
René Peña has taken part in many solo and group exhibitions, and art fairs, both inside and outside of Cuba. His pictures are part of numerous permanent collections, private and public. With his work, he has won a number of prizes and special recognition; among them first prize at the IV Biennial of the Caribbean, Santo Domingo (2000) and the Distinciòn por la Cultura Cubana given by the Consejo Nacional de las Artes Plasticas y el Ministerio de Cultura de Cuba (2002).