Rafael Sánchez

Artist Bio

BALLOONS UMBRELLAS TURNTABLES continued the artist’s exploration of androgyny, allegory, and archetypal themes such as love and jealousy. Incorporating Greek tragedy, alchemical illustration, Surrealist theater, silent films, drag shows, and rock and roll music as inspiration for theatrical performances, Sánchez integrates his performance-based work into gallery installations with drawings, paintings, and performing objects that exist as fully evolved works, as well as studied research for props, costumes, and set designs. The installation articulated a theatrical confluence of diverse materials and doubled as a work area where the artist and collaborators developed visually driven performances, presented in working form throughout the exhibition. The balloons, umbrellas, and turntables of the title are found throughout Sánchez’s twenty-year multidisciplinary career, giving structuring to his investigations of gravity, transformation, time, the body, nature, culture, and the cosmos.

Award Year


Rafael Sánchez

New York, NY

Rafael Sánchez was born 1960 in Havana, grew up in Queens and New Jersey where he attended Rutgers University. He began creating sets in the late eighties, and eventually began performing his own. With the emergence of androgynous characters, diverse aspects of his work in drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and set design began to crystallize in atmospheric tableaux, merging spectacle and substance. In 1999 Sánchez presented a two-act play entitled The Libation Bearers (The Opera); a fully lip-synched reinterpretation of Aeschylus’ tale of the same name, re-constructed from the rock band Queen’s early catalog of songs. The two-week run drew a diverse cross-over audience interested in art, theater, music and performance. Other staged works include Les Fleurs des Vents, Dream On, and Goat Song. His work has been presented at New York’s Threadwaxing Space and Mother; Boston’s The Market Theater; and at The Armada Festival in Holland and the International Performance Festival in Mexico City.