Pavel Acosta

Artist Statement

I focus on stealing as a peculiar social behavior. Having grown up in a context in which state structures don’t work properly—Cuba of the past decades—I find the need to reformulate the concept of stealing because the relationship between the Cuban state and its citizens is based on constant, mutual robbery. The former “steals” people’s basic needs and rights, whereas the latter operate a black market to trade stolen goods from the state and engage in prohibited behaviors.


I strip “stealing” of its traditional pejorative connotations. I can “observe” ready-made robberies through photography, be the actual thief, or engage groups of people in committing robbery. Having incorporated these methods of work into my “Cuban understanding” of morals and ethics, there is often an action or a performance that takes place, previous to the photographic moment. 


Working in different communities, I have realized that the object of desire is not always tangible, but is often based on an ideal—hence my interest in exploring people’s ideals and what they would dare to do to achieve them.

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2009, 1/10 from the series Stolen Talent light jet print 10 1/2 x 14”