Geandy Pavón en Times Square: “Vanitas: Daniel’s Got a Gun” / Geandy Pavon

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Vanitas: Still Alive is a guerrilla projection by Cuban-American artist Geandy Pavón. This particular piece is part of a series of street interventions in which the artist for a short period of time transforms a particular place into something completely different from its original state. Even thought this piece stand by itself, it can be considered a sequence of his previous “Nemesis” project:

What is a Vanitas?

Vanitas (Latin, “vanity” ) in art, is a genre of still-life painting that flourished in the Netherlands in the early 17th century. A vanitas painting contains collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly achievements and pleasures; it exhorts the viewer to consider mortality and to repent. The vanitas evolved from simple pictures of skulls and other symbols of death and transience frequently painted on the reverse sides of portraits during the late Renaissance. It had acquired an independent status by c. 1550, and by 1620, it had become a popular genre.

The Projection

The projection consists of a video in which an 11-year-old boy, points a pistol at his head. The place chosen for the projection is Times Square at nighttime, in front of a famous toy store, using the main wall of a theater, located on 44th Street and 7th Avenue. The child is Daniel Foxx, a child actor living in Los Angeles.

In the context of the city, the use of this image would function in the same way that the skull functioned in a baroque painting. Times Square, a place of artifice and mercantile excess, brings the concept of the baroque to the world stage. In the middle of this carnival-like atmosphere, the giant image of a suicidal child will appear, as if to remind us that behind the masquerade, there is another reality, that of death and uncertainty. “Vanitas” is a work that proposes to get to the core of this idea, to the skull, to the essence in which things seem to relinquish their skin to show themselves in their truest state. This reality, this naked bone, will acquire a real sense in the midst of the carnival, the festival of flesh that is Times Square.

This work is inspired by the current debate on the possession of firearms and the growing symptoms of violence in North America.

For more information please contact the artist at:

Tel.: (201) 289-2843

Note from Translating Cuba: Geandy Pavon’s well know for his “Nemesis” project which projects the faces of Cubans who have been assassinate by the government on the facades of buildings occupied by the Cuban government abroad. Translating Cuba is proud to be a small part of bringing Geandy’s work to a wider public.

28 April 2013