Pavel Acosta says, “stealing is the very core of my work.” In order to survive as an artist, not unlike the way other people do in Cuba — smuggling from the state resources within the black market to compensate for their low salaries and scarcities is the method of survival in a dictatorship.
In Cuba, Acosta, explored the boundaries between destroying something, committing a crime, and making art. The artist stole dry paint chips from the crumbling city walls to make collages or perhaps one might call them mosaics from recycled paint on sheetrock and call them stolen paintings. Artists always have to address challenges, the main one been how does an artist survive? Acosta has been in the United States since 2010 and the museum walls have now become ambassadors in ideologies that carry memories and ultimately history.
His works are detailed copies of masterpieces from museum collections using acrylic wall paint on sheetrock. There is a QR code next to each of the paintings, which allows the viewer to access the webpage of the museum that has the original work in their permanent collection. Thus, his low tech work becomes the ghost of the original painting that finds its way back its body through cutting edge technology. Acosta has done Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer and has titled his painting stolen from the Royal Picture Gallery Maurithuis. Another example of a work of Frida Kahlo After Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo (1940) from the series: Stolen from Harry Ranson Center, University of Texas at Austin.
Acosta makes the viewer understand why each of his deconstructed works of a master painting is considered masterful. The artist also researches the original frame in which the painting was housed even if the frame no longer exists in reality.