Medicina de Amor (Love Medicine) is a solo exhibition of recent work by Gerardo Dexter Ciprian. Working with archival material, hand-me-down objects, oral histories and folklore, Ciprian mines the ephemera of the Dominican diaspora and broader immigrant imaginary as a source of wisdom, mystery and resilience.
At once personal and allegorical, the exhibition draws on a vast wealth of personal stories, riddles, and superstitions the artist has archived over the years as well as objects and images with special significance in the Dominican immigrant imaginary. Jabon de cuaba—an iconic soap in D.R. used for everything from washing your body to cleaning dishes—is reconstituted into ghost doubles of bricks from the artist’s Bronx childhood home; hand-me-down furniture passed down from the artist’s grandparents is transformed into lanterns that seem to magically light themselves, a reference to the prevalent blackouts in the Caribbean nation. The works are never circumscribed to any one time and place, and often play on a tension between opacity and legibility—a proxy for the indeterminacy of the shifting ground beneath migration and the inevitable fading of intergenerational memory.
Medicina de Amor borrows its title from one of the most recognizable bachatas from the Dominican Republic by Raulin Rodriguez. Like Biggie’s Juicy to any Brooklynite, Rodriguez’s Medicina de Amor serves as a kind of anthem to all Dominicans everywhere. For Ciprian, their work and practice—part archive and remembrance, part mourning and reconciliation—is akin to medicine that mends the ruptures of migration.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Dexter Ciprian (b. 1984, he/him), is a Dominican-American visual artist living and working in The Bronx, NY. His work explores migration, diaspora and mythology and has been exhibited nationally. He is the recipient of several awards and residencies including The Bronx Museum Block Gallery Residency (2020), Vermont Studio Center Residency (2019), Portal: Governors Island Residency (2019), AIM Fellowship at The Bronx Museum of the Arts (2015), and the 2011 BRIO award from the Bronx Council on the Arts. His work has appeared or been reviewed in Hyperallergic, The New York Times, and ArtNet Magazine, and published in Architecture Inserted (W. W. Norton & Co., 2012). From 2020-21, he served as co-director of OPEN DOORS, an arts and justice initiative which supports the creativity and leadership of Black and Latinx people who use wheelchairs and inspires action for safer, more just communities. He holds an M.Arch from the Yale School of Architecture (2009), and a B.S. from the University at Buffalo (2006).
Ciprian is the recipient of a number of artist residencies and fellowships including The Block Gallery Artist Residency and the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program at the Bronx Museum.
CURATORIAL CREDIT AND EXHIBITION SUPPORT
Medicina de Amor has been organized by the Bronx Museum’s Education Department, and is made possible by the generous support of Martin Weinstein and Tereza Liszka, Debbie Rechtler, Cher Lewis, Friends of AIM, SRI Fine Art Services, the Jerome Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Miranda Family Fund. Additional support of the AIM artist residency is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The New York Community Trust, William Talbott Hillman Foundation, Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Joshua Stein PLLC, and Gerald Weinstein.