Next Big Thing: Radamés “Juni” Figueroa
Known for his fresh, tropical take on Pop Surrealism and cerebral sculptures, the San Juan artist elevates the quotidian into high art
Known for his fresh, tropical take on Pop Surrealism and cerebral sculptures, San Juan artist Radamés “Juni” Figueroa distills Puerto Rico’s sensory essence and its political complexities into narrative paintings and interactive installations.
For almost two decades, Figueroa has been creating what he calls “tropical readymades,” fashioning utilitarian signifiers of his daily life into planters. He elevates the quotidian, such as a discarded sneaker or aluminum shutters, into high art.
Breakout moment: At his institutional debut at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Figueroa rebuilt his Tree House-Casa Club, an immersive artwork that was originally created as an architectural haven in a sustainable forest.
On view: Large reptiles take center stage in Figueroa’s latest paintings, which are on display at Art Basel in Miami Beach in his solo presentation with Guatemala City gallery Proyectos Ultravioleta. “I’m inspired by these two brothers here in Puerto Rico, who trap gators and have become kind of celebrities. My whole proposal for the booth had to do with them and talking about the plague that exists in Puerto Rico with the population of these animals,” he says.
“Many times humorous yet always incisive, Figueroa’s sculptures and paintings point to the unique political, cultural, and climactic specificities of this island and global issues”Silvia Karman Cubiñá
Personal passion: “I use paint first and foremost to have a good time. But I’m also drawn to painting because it challenges me through the process itself and how it keeps evolving.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Winter Issue under the headline “Next Big Things.” Subscribe to the magazine.
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