Yoan Capote was born in Havana in 1977, where he still lives and works. He studied at the Instituto Provincial de Arte in Pinar del Rio, Cuba from 1988 to 1991, followed by the Instituto Nacional de Arte in Havana from 1991 until 1995. After studying art at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana from 1996 until 2001, Capote became a professor at that university until 2003. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, Capote's art has been widely exhibited in Cuba, the United States, and Europe. Capote represented Cuba at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and become one of the most influential contemporary Cuban artists.
Capote's artworks negotiate his experience with Cuban identity and the social and political climate of the country. The human mind and themes of migration, corruption, and the government are intimately tied to his body of work, which uses sexual and physical metaphors to convey anger at corruption. An interest in the multi-sensory led to Capote’s use of media expanding to photography, performance sculptures and installations. Several of his pieces merge human organs with inanimate objects, rearranging the human body and reinventing the purpose of everyday life objects. Capote’s work looks at elements of human interconnected energy, nomadism and the relationship humans hold to their surroundings. The emotional aspects of his work are revealed in titles such as Stress (2004), which also utilize the unexpected or perhaps absurd to balance the poignancy of complex psychological concepts. Using the physical to access the psychological is a hallmark of Capote's thought-provoking artworks, which manifest in painting, installation, sculpture, video and photography. The striking Isla series uses fish hooks sewn into canvas to create visually appealing seascapes that reference the sea as a metaphor for a sort of 'iron curtain' that has kept Cuba separated from the rest of the world.