Kcho [Alexis Leiva Machado] (born 1970 in Isla de Pinos, Cuba; lives and works in Havana, Cuba).
Twigs, sticks, and twine.
Modeled after Tatlin’s unrealized Monument to the Third International (1919-20). Kcho’s tower, however, is topped with a used conical fabric coffee filter, recycling a failed monument into a quasi-functional item. Echo travelled outside Cuba for the first time in 1992. He recounts that Tatlin’s monument is a symbol of a society that was supposed to change the world; then suddenly that ideology failed. The structure was no longer a symbol but just a utopia.
“My dream is to find a way to make Tatlin’s spiral work. What about making a drainer? It didn’t function as one thing, so why not another? So a utopia is given function. It’s something sarcastic too… how do you filter coffee in Tatlin’s spiral?”
—Kcho, interview with Kellie Jones, in Kellie Jones, Eyeminded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), 139.
“It’s a symbol of the socialist utopia that does not work… It was something like: let’s make coffee with that spiral. It has to be good for something.”
—Kcho in cited in Abelardo Mena Chicuri, “About Kcho (Alexis Leyva Machado),” The Farber Collection.
“Those were the years of nonstop migration of the most important visual artists in Cuba towards Mexico, Miami and Spain… For many, the death of all utopias had been decreed.”
—Abelardo Mena Chicuri, “About Kcho (Alexis Leyva Machado),” The Farber Collection.