José Toirac

Lisa Sette Gallery

For Cuban artist José Toirac, the mythology of the universal hero—a story of revolt, sacrifice, and untimely death—infuses the images of Ernesto “Che” Guevara that were for decades all that remained of one of the most famous icons of the socialist cause. Toirac’s recent exhibition, comprising six black-and-white paintings and a large installation in red wine, traced the progression of this myth through the celebrated photographs of Che that, when strung together, show how the revolutionary’s fabled life fits the templates provided by historical icons from Achilles to Jesus Christ, mixed with native Catholicism and Santeria, superstition and mystery. Despite the quiet simplicity of the images, they demonstrate the often religious intensity of political conviction: Indeed, Che is invoked as a saint in some parts of Bolivia.

Toirac, whose recent installation dealing with the Bay of

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