The Merger is a collaborative group formed by the Cuban artists Alain Pino (Camaguey, 1974), Niels Moleiro Luis (Havana, 1970), and Mario Miguel Gonzalez (Mayito) (Holguin, 1969). While Alain is a graduate in Visual Arts at the Instituto Superior de Arte, the other two – Niels and Mayito – come from self-taught backgrounds. They have been involved with the art world since they were very young, making the decision to merge their work when they reached maturity in their solo careers. After many on and off collaborations in different collective projects and exhibitions, these three artists realized that working together was not only much more fun, but they could also achieve much better results.
The name of the group was suggested by a curator of the Metropolitan Art Museum of New York who was doing some research on Cuban art at the time the three artists were planning their future as an art group.
Their debut took place during the X Havana Art Biennial in April 2009. For this first exhibit the Mergers chose an underground show using their own studio as a gallery. Hundreds of artists, critics, gallerists, and art lovers in general passed by the Merger’s head quarters during the opening day, intrigued to know the result of the fusion of these three artists’ careers.
The Merger has dabbled in different types of media. Sculpture is their tour de force, and they have experimented with different materials such as black steel, stainless steel, bronze, aluminum, fiberglass, translucent silicone, Murano glass, marble, and wood. Each sculpture is preceded by several studies or projects, which are also works of art. For this purpose they’ve also worked in oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas, watercolor, gouache, drawings, serigraphy, photography, and tapestry.
Most of their sculptures are produced in USA because of the high technological requirements of their manufacture, although they’ve also work in Italy with the glass masters of Murano, and in Spain for the porcelain and translucent silicone sculptures.
“Using bright colour and magnifiying objects, chosen sometimes for their value as a cultural icon such as the Swiss pocket knife, the stiletto, or the car tyre, our work is very close to Pop art, but we are also very interested in highlighting social and cultural issues, through the popular icons being re-elaborated and adapted to new circumstances.
We intervene and manipulate the object to the point of subverting its original function, by mixing it with two or more other objects aiming to enhance its symbolic and anecdotic capacity. We believe that every object has a hidden story in its design as well as in its cultural and historical acquired meaning, and its recycling process in the art field. It is for that reason that any change or manipulation of the object can activate or deactivate its new meanings. So, we are not so much interested in what it is said, but in how to say it, and try to bring to the new re-assembled appliance structure new meanings.”
The work in this exhibition are screenprints of images created of The Merger’s stainless steel sculptures.
Image shown: Detail from The Merger: Fiance, screenprint 2014, 70x50cm