Enrique Báster’s Abstractions

From a Possible Reality

/ 1 December, 2018

With the complexity of the contemporary world, the messages expressed in abstract codes are increasingly frequent. From the signs in a supermarket to the result of a medical checkup, passing through innumerable possibilities, the human brain must face every day icons, diagrams, graphs… and figure them out in an exercise, on numerous occasions incoherent, of deciphering. At the same time, the geometrization of daily life is a palpable fact (…). And it is that the principles of geometry are verified in the shapes of common utilitarian objects as well as in architectural structures or urban planning in general. They are all ideas that obsess and motivate artist Enrique Báster, who wields them as ideologies and as pillars that sustain a work that, based on the language of abstraction, deal with substantial aspects of contemporary reality.

The artist’s critical view provokes in him a deep need for information and being up to date, whose result he analyzes and synthesizes to let it enter a work full of meanings, that points to questions of the urban sphere, sociology, economy, politics or demography.

Walking through the streets of Havana turns him into a spectator and participant in the life of his city, full of contrasts, visual as well as social (…). After 1959 its constructions were scarce and its new barrios contrasted with the architectural dynamics that had been developing until then. The problems with demographic growth and insufficient housing in the city have tried to find answers in official and nonofficial alternatives that, at times, have erased its borders. (…) These events have had an impact not just on the visualization of the city, but also in the behavior of its citizens. Phenomena like fragmentation, transgression of borders, violation of spaces or loss of privacy can then be seen on both levels and, at the same time, the resistance, inherent to humans, in defense of respect for their individuality and comfort.

Many of these events constitute topics in the work of Enrique Báster, who uses them as a point of departure to develop some of his series, whose titles allude to tangible realities, placing the spectator in a position of suspicion in the face of formally abstract works that start being associated to images from life experiences.

(…) Many of his works are conceived through the collage technique. Multiple materials participate in them with a high semantic charge (…). Thus, when he mixes the pigment with cement or sand, not only is he seeking a visual effect through textures and volumes, he establishes a parallelism with the construction materials par excellence; or when he covers an area with fragments of paper money (…) he alludes to the economy as an omnipresent entity in each act of modern life.

Each one of his works is an evocation of outbursts and expansion, of the unknown’s movement and mutation, underlining with this the idea of the displacement and the perennial travel, so much used in our days. They are all works that are an invitation to contemplation, seducing the senses or intriguing the eye; arousing questions, more than passing sentences. (…)

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