b. 1965. Resides in the United States.
Segundo Planes’ work could be categorized as belonging to the surrealist vein of Latin American art. Like an iceberg, this artistic style has surfaced in different countries and moments to become a “tradition” in the course of the 20th century. Described as “super-surrealist, super-expressionist, and super-baroque” (Mosquera, 1987), Planes and several of his colleagues have been undeniably influenced by such artists as Jonathan Borofsky and Kenny Scharf. These influences are reflected in a freewheeling figurative style; an intense emotional engagement, encompassing Renaissance-style perspective as well as the rules of “good” painting; and an intimate acquaintance with Pop Art’s warmer tendencies.
In Planes’ case, we are not presented with magical realism, or the dreamlike fantasies that people tend to identify with Latin American art. Nor does he show any interest in the concepts of national identity so dear to certain aspects of Cuban art of the 20th century.
Planes’ work places him as an artist maudit in the romantic vein: a medium whose spontaneous disorder of the senses allows him singular access to distortions in the social sphere. “He combines grand portraits with philosophy, sex, scatology and poetry in an endless baroque flow.” (Camnitzer, 2003) His style does not resort to Salvador Dalí’s Technicolor techniques, nor to the fortuitous encounter of dissimilar objects. Instead, his works are installations composed of several canvases, images on the floor, and added objects. In these works he unleashes a boundless, multicolored figuration, in which he mixes episodes of his personal life, reflections on his education as an artist, and references to interior body cavities—as if, as in Untitled (1990), the viewer were witnessing an endoscopy guiding him to the other side of the visible. Of the multiple eyes placed in this interior, only one seems to have an active pupil capable of vision. Over the open membrane, perhaps the optic cavity, nerves crisscross in the shape of the hammer and sickle, symbols of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991.
—Abelardo G. Mena Chicuri