An island in the agonizing echo of a glass cup

Alan Manuel González’s Poetics

/ 1 March, 2017

Alan Manuel González’s work, apart from any similitude that might emerge at first sight, does not look like anything or anyone in its final result. Unrelated to any fad or trend, the artist would seem to live in his own bubble, isolated from social climbing, competence and pettiness characteristic of contemporary art. He goes “his way”, without hurrying. Perhaps to tell us that “the ones ahead do not go far, if the ones behind run well”. Halfway between hyperrealist painting and surrealistic atmospheres, his work stands out because of the impeccable dominion of the chromatic range, the textures, the contrasts between lights and shadows, the lineal and atmospheric perspective, as well as the treatment of the foreshortenings, the human anatomy and the transparencies of the glass surfaces.

But farther away from technical virtuosity, his paintings are loaded with great poetry and spirituality. Alan is an eternal dreamer, a visual poet, who grants us acute metaphors related to our insular condition, our urban and rural landscapes, the anguishes and sleeplessness of our people. His works are radiography of Cuba and of the most humble individuals inhabiting it. A wandering, roving island, encapsulated in a glass bottle.

And almost without pretending it, I have mentioned the two most important iconographic symbols inside his work: the bottle/glass and the Royal palm. The first is the omnipresent scenery that contains everything, absorbs, petrifies and eternalizes everything. Alan’s paintings are the paintings of confinement, of dumbness and silence. Vegetation, architectonic constructions and human beings live trapped between glass walls where time and memory freeze, are paralyzed. His worlds or characters inhabit an atrocious lack of communication: the beauty and limpidness of glass surfaces become a barrier that isolates, annuls.

For its part, the Royal palm is the object of multiple vexations: it is triturated, cut, uprooted, tied or doubled over to the ground. In these works all suffer: the human beings, the plants, the architecture, José Martí in the depths of the sea. It is a cursed, erratic world, perhaps because someone has opened Pandora’s Box. His creations fling many questions and no answer: Who desecrated the “box”? Which is that secret that should not be shown? When do the glasses confining us will disappear of our conscience and our bodies? In what moment words and voices will liberate themselves from the agonizing echo of a glass cup? Will it be soon or does a lethargic wait is expecting us? (…)

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