El mural (1954)
This painting is a miniature version of La Gloriosa Victoria by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. This work recreates the mural in deep reds and blacks, creating a seemingly projected effect as opposed to the painted original. In the composition, an unknown figure watches the projection like a visitor in a museum. The mural was Rivera’s statement against the presidency of Carlos Castillo Armas and the support it received from the United States to benefit the interests of the United Fruit Company—a multinational that extended its influence across Central America and that had serious involvement in gruesome dictatorships throughout the region. This work is part of a series by the artist, Calligeris, which was the codename given by the CIA to the Guatemalan colonel, Carlos Castillo Armas, in the covert operation PBSUCCESS in 1954.
José Morbán’s work draws from archives, found photographs, documents and other memorabilia from the place now called Dominican Republic. The artist tries to make sense of their personal history and, more broadly, the history of the island. Morbán's work creates fictions as a way to revise the Dominican collective memory and the figures who shape it—exploring political power and its physical manifestations, as well as the instrumentalization of media for political gain.
José Morbán’s practice attempts to make sense of their personal history and, more broadly, the history of the island where they were born and live. The artist’s work draws from archives, found photographs, documents and other memorabilia from the place now called Dominican Republic to create fictions that revise the Dominican collective memory and the figures who shape it. Morbán’s work explores political power and its physical manifestations, as well as the instrumentalization of media for political gain.
José Morbán was born in the Dominican Republic in 1987. The artist graduated from the School of Design at Altos de Chavón in Romana, Dominican Republic.
Exhibitions of Morbán’s work include: Tropical Is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime at Americas Society in New York City (2022); Pal Patio at Calderón in New York City (2022); Tropo, Trompo, Trampa at Lucy García Contemporary Gallery in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2021); Landmark at KM 0.2 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and one month after being known in that island at Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger in Basel, Switzerland (2020).
In 2021, Morbán participated in the Art Omi residency program in Ghent, New York.
Morbán’s work is in the permanent collection of: the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection; the Centro León Museum in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic; and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.
Morbán is a co-founder of ONTO (@ontopub), an artists publication based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with a satellite in New York City.
Morbán lives and works in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.