To believe, to paint

/ 16 March, 2015

Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal (Havana, 1955) (…) is a solitary artist, with scarce or null participation in generational groups or movements, rather ready to appear in the firmament of art, in the “Cuban artistic scene,” only when he has believed a creative circle has concluded and his faith in what he does has intensified to commotion. Known by his drawings, engravings, installations, assemblages, he recently finished a series of paintings in 2014 which he exhibited in Havana under the title Palabras (Words, Galería Habana, December 2014-January 2015) which, being acquainted with his well-known religious education, has surprised me in many ways. To be truthful, the religiosity (in which I include foundations, history, structures, ritualism, myths, symbols, signs, language) on which his work is based should be known so as to fully and truly appreciate it because, if we don’t, we have to run the risk of enjoying them in a strict sense as images (after all, that is what they are), with plastic or visual elements, within the traditional concepts of painting throughout the centuries.

(…) I cherish the suspicion that Santiago has taken into account the ignorance of some of us and has decided, this time, to shorten the paths between his creation and a better and more effective reception of it, and to disturb us in a different way to make the fish of curiosity jump in the midst of its territorial waters. And who knows if, thanks to this, we would begin to inquire more into the mysteries and illuminations of some religious beliefs for a greater enjoyment of our cultural and social contexts, or we incorporate to inhabit, once and forever, that spiritual universe of his. (…)

Nelson Herrera Ysla

Nelson Herrera Ysla

Crítico de arte, curador, poeta. Co-fundador del Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam y de la Bienal de La Habana, donde se desempeña actualmente como curador. Ha ofrecido conferencias en numerosos países y publicado numerosos textos críticos en publicaciones especializadas de Cuba y el extranjero. Autor de varios libros de poesía y ensayos. Curador General de la XVI Bienal Paiz de Guatemala, 2008. Jurado de Ensayo del Premio Casa de las Américas, 2005, y de eventos internacionales de arte en América Latina. Premio Nacional de Crítica de Artes Guy Pérez Cisneros, 2007, y del Premio Nacional de Curaduría 2013, ambos en Cuba.

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