René Peña (Pupi)


Havana, 1957
Self-taught photographer. Bachelor in the English Language from the Higher Pedagogic Institute of Foreign Languages, University of Havana, Cuba.

Solo Shows
2012 On the Onomatopoeia and Ciudad H. Salle Zéro, Alliance Française, Havana, Cuba.
Beauty Things. Collateral to the 11th Havana Biennial. Fortress of La Cabaña. Havana, Cuba.
3 Monos (Three Monkeys). Servando Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
2011 René Peña. Citerna Fotografía (Festival d’Arte Fotográfica). Citerna (Perugia), Italy.
Relaciones Negativas (Negative Relations) (with Marta María Pérez). “La Regenta” Art Center. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Canary Islands, Spain.
Black and White in Color (with Cirenaica Moreira) – Couturier Gallery. Los Angeles CA, USA.
2010 Sad Blue Child. Villa Manuela Gallery. Havana, Cuba
2009 Escenas urbanas (Urban Scenes). Collateral exhibition, 10th Havana Biennial. Hotel Telégrafo. Havana, Cuba.
2008 Black Album. (Inauguration of FOTOLOGíA 6) Santa Fe Gallery. Bogotà, Colombia.
Icon. Sala Alterna, Santa Fe Gallery. Bogotá, Colombia.
2007 Territorios y cartografías en blanco y negro (Territories and Cartographies in Black and White). Renè Peña, Fran Herbello. Hall C-5. Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Relaciones negativas (Negative Relations) (with Marta María Pérez). Habana. Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
René Peña. Exposición fotográfica (Photo Show). 23 y 12 Gallery. Havana, Cuba.

Group Exhibitions
2012 Cuban Artists’ Books and Prints Show. Cantor Art Gallery. Wake Forest University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
Queloides (Keloids). Rudenstine Gallery, Harvard University. Boston, USA.
Exposición fotografica (Photo Show). Génesis Gallery, Miramar Trade Center. Havana, Cuba.
Somos la misma cosa (We Are One and The Same). House of Poetry. Havana, Cuba.
El baño. Entre lo público y lo privado (The Bath. Between Public and Private). MAF (Museum-Archive of Photography). Mexico City, Mexico.
La seducción de la mirada (The Seduction of the Glance). Spanish American Center of Culture. Havana, Cuba.
Atajos (Shortcuts). La Acacia Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
Crimen, náusea y transgression (Crime, Nausea and Transgression). Collateral to the 11th Havana Biennial. La Galería Restaurant. Havana, Cuba.
HB2. Collateral to the 11th Havana Biennial. Pabexpo. Havana, Cuba.
Somos la misma cosa (We Are One and the Same). Collateral to the 11th  Havana Biennial. Villena Gallery, UNEAC. Havana, Cuba
Tiempo Libre – Free Time. Collateral to the 11th Havana Biennial. Hotel Palco. Havana, Cuba.
El baño. Entre lo público y lo privado (The Bath. Between Public and Private). Alva de la Canal Gallery. Xalapa, Mexico.
Caribbean. Crossroads of the World. El Museo del Barrio, Queens Museum of Art, Studio Museum of Harlem. New York, USA.
Deporte derecho del arte (Sports, a Right of Art). Espacio Abierto Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
Regards Croisés. Phot’Aix. Aix-en-Provence, France.
Beyond the Frame. Gallery 27 (in London), The Lighthouse (in Glasgow), United Kingdom (UK).
Cuba, mucho gusto (Cuba, Pleased to Meet You). National Museum, Brasilia, Brazil.
2011 Cuban Visions. Metropolitan Pavilion. New York, USA.
Queloides (Keloids). The 8th Floor Gallery. New York, USA.
Review. Orígenes Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
50 en los 50 (Fifty in their 50’s). La Acacia Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
Del símbolo a la metáfora (From the Symbol to the Metaphor). “Felix Varela” Cultural Center, Havana, Cuba.
2010 Confluencias/Inside – Arte Cubano Contemporáneo (Contemporary Cuban Art) – National Hispanic Cultural Center – Albuquerque Art Museum – New Mexico, USA.
Pieza única (Unique Piece). Delegation of the Principality of Asturias. Madrid, Spain.
Musas del lente (Lens Muses). Colonial Art Museum. Havana, Cuba.
Queloides (Keloids). Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center. Havana, Cuba.
Baobabs. The Foto Visura Latin American Pavilion. 10th NYPH (New York Photo Festival). New York, USA.
Without Masks. Contemporary African Cuban Art from the Von Christierson Collection. Johannesburg, South Africa.
Art Gallery (JAG). Johannesburg, South Africa.
Alicia Alonso dances here tonight. Magnan Metz Gallery. New York, USA.
Hot Art Basel. Stand “Galería La Casona”. Basel, Switzerland.
Contemporary Art Ruhr Festival. Essen, Germany.
El azar concurriente (The Concurrent Fate). Portugal Arte 10. Lisbon, Portugal.
3ème nuit de la photo contemporaine. Foire Saint-Germain. Paris, France.
Stress. Habana Gallery, Havana, Cuba.
Queloides (Keloids). The Mattress Factory. Pittsburgh, USA.
Monstruos devoradores de energía (Energy-Devouring Monsters). Plaza de San Francisco. Seville, Spain.
Cutlog. Contemporary Art Fair. Artraces Gallery. Paris, France.
2009 HB 4. Collateral exhibition, 10th Havana Biennial. Pabexpo fairground. Havana, Cuba.
Crisis (Las banderas) (The Flags). Collateral exhibition. 10th Havana Biennial. Expocuba fairground. Havana, Cuba.
Pura coincidencia (Los abstractos) (Pure Coincidence – The Abstracts). Collateral exhibition, 10th Havana Biennial. Expocuba fairground. Havana, Cuba.
El trazo del fuego (The Trace of Fire). La Cometa Gallery. Bogotá, Colombia.
La otra (The Other). La Cometa Gallery. Bogotá, Colombia.
Cuban Artists' Books and Prints Show - Fleming Museum, Burlington Latino Arts, Milwaukee, USA.
2008 Terapia de grupo (Group Therapy). Fernando Pradilla Gallery. Madrid, Spain.
Identifíquese (Identify Yourself). Habana Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
Sutil violento (Subtly Violent). National Museum of Visual Arts. Montevideo, Uruguay.
Cuba! Arte e historia desde 1868 hasta nuestros días (Cuba!  Art and History from 1868 to Our Days). Museum of Fine Arts. Montreal, Canada.
We are porno, yes. First International Annual Porno Art Show. Espacio Aglutinador Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
Las formas temporales (The Temporary Forms). Salle Zéro, Alliance Française. Havana, Cuba.
Encuentros. 22 fotógrafos cubanos (Meetings. 22 Cuban Photographers). Villa Manuela Gallery. Havana, Cuba.
Sutil Violento (Subtly Violent). Recoleta Cultural Center. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Arboleda. El cuerpo es cuerpos (Grove. The Body is Bodies). International Festival of Contemporary Art 08. Cultural Institute of León, Mexico.
Homo Nudi. Fototeca de Cuba. Havana, Cuba.
De aquí y de allá (From Here and There). Provincial Center for Plastic Arts and Design. Havana, Cuba.
Examen de conciencia (Conscience Test). Fototeca de Cuba. Havana, Cuba.
Erotic. National Museum of Fine Arts. Havana, Cuba.

National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba.
Collection Nuestra América (Our America), Casa de las Américas. Havana, Cuba.
Fototeca de Cuba. Havana, Cuba.
Galería Habana. Havana, Cuba.
Ludwig Foundation of Cuba. Havana, Cuba.
Reinhard Schultz Collection. Germany.
Photo archive. Tuscany, Italy.
Southeast Museum of Photography. Daytona, U.S.A.
Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Houston, U.S.A.
Duhran Contemporary Art Gallery, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Throckmorton Fine Arts. New York, U.S.A.
Collection of the Province of Hainaut. Belgium.
Lehigh University. Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Beatrice Liaskowski Collection. Zurich, Switzerland.
Reynald Lally Collection. Haiti / U.S.A.
Farber Collection. Florida, U.S.A.
Malba (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires). Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Andreas Winkler. Zurich, Switzerland/Havana, Cuba.
Contemporary African Cuban Art, collection of Chris von Christierson. London, UK.
The Mattress Factory. Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

1992 First Black and White prize at the Third Photography Competition of the UCCI (Spain).
1993 Mention at the Second International Photography Salon Abelardo Rodríguez Ante (Havana, Cuba).
1993 Mention of Honor at the World Competition of Photography “The Family”
Organized by the UNESCO/ACCU Japan (Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO Contest ).
1995 Honorific Mention at the First Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art. Fototeca de Cuba (Havana, Cuba).
1996 “Cuban Olorum Award” granted by the FCIF (Cuban Fund of the Photographic Image).
2002 First prize at the Fourth Biennial of the Caribbean (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic).
2002 Distinction For Cuban Culture granted by the National Council for Plastic Arts and the Ministry of Culture, at the National Palace of Fine Arts of Havana, Cuba.


René Peña’s work focuses on racial issues. In the majority of his works he uses his own body as a form of transmitting his social experience as a black individual, granting it an aesthetic component through a somewhat theatrical treatment of the image. They are images almost always in black and white as a form of drawing attention to the dichotomy established between the individuals of one race and the other. The symbolical coexistence in the face of the marginalization, that also operates as essential issue of his work. In other pieces he underlines the significance of some specific element within the composition with a subtle touch of color. His works also have a sexual connection when frequently using zones of his naked body.

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