Fabelo’s world*

Persistencia, Palazzo della Cancelleria, Roma, 2017

/ 1 September, 2017

(…) Fabelo’s “beautiful painting” seems to find its exterior nourishment in the Renaissance and the Baroque preciosity. On the other side, the sneaky intention to search, the exploration for narrative contrast, stupefaction and uncomfortable contemplation all find home, not only ideally, in the enigmatic allusions shown in Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, then decline in the warm intimacy of a Velázquez or in the insinuating corrosiveness of a Goya, until it touches the diverse oneiric regressions of surrealism. Fabelo’s is especially “a discourse of humanist vocation that exceeds the epidermal reaction in order to respond better to the desire of improving the human condition and then let go—as if going through a purifying vortex—of the holdbacks set by the silence trying to hide the darkest side of the pain of being.”[1] Indeed the appeal to a compositional paradox follows the logic of a behavioral declaration that compares and contrasts the pleasure and the unease of the viewer: a pleasure provoked by the high level of execution and an unease entrusted to the sarcasm that often accompanies the sequence of images. The result is an accusation at a society that feeds itself on misunderstandings and contradictions, expressive excesses and attitudes where everything can cohabit with its exact opposites. Therefore, Fabelo’s “beautiful painting” takes on the role of the regal vest that deposes, on the noble plate of evidence, any possible allegory of our time, that everybody can decipher through their own sensitivity. All of this is to pursue truth, without resorting to lying to ourselves and without any commitment. This aspect underlies the mysterious narrative combinations, the masked allusions, the skill and the exhibitive seduction refers us to Bosch (…)

It is certainly not undemanding to overcome the fright that comes from seeing Fabelo’s squishing bodies in an old tin carafe, or coming out of a pot so it can be tasted by the glance, in order to understand the “other” meaning, the one behind the sinister splendor of a 16th century “still life” (or “living nature” in this case?). In the same way, the opulent female figure riding a sumptuous rooster feeds further thoughts provoked by the subconscious. The embarrassing refusal of such evidence, backfiring at us in the same way that a distorted mirror stops at the threshold of abandonment: the emphasized seduction of the picture serves as indispensable perceptual temptation. You can’t get out of it unpunished. And this is exactly what Fabelo pretends as we go through the winding cavalry and from which it is impossible to escape. After all, the warm and often nightly time that welcomes creations favors the complicity of those who lie next to that world, even if they might not yet be able to share its journey as they still don’t possess the key to read it.

But where can his painting be collocated? On this, Fabelo states: “Truthfully, I don’t care about knowing if I am contemporary or not, if I am an avant-garde artist or not, regardless I consider myself as open to what is new. Every artist needs to have his time, his personality, his angels and demons, these are mine and I prefer carrying on with them.”[2]


*Text included in the catalogue of the exhibition Persistencia, Palazzo della Chancelleria, Rome, 2017. (Editor’s Note)

[1] Blanco de la Cruz, Caridad: “Entre l’épouvante et la tendresse”. In: 9 peintres contemporains cubains, Monaco, July 20 – Aug. 28, 2005, cat. p. 85. “un discours à vocation humaniste qui dépasse la chose épidermique pour répondre au mieux au souhait d’améliorer la condition humaine et larguer – tel un tourbillon purificateur – les amarres imposées par le silence qui cherche à occulter le côté le plus obscur des pénuries de l’être”.

[2] Padura Fuentes, Leonardo: “Fabelo: de la cabeza a los pies”. In: Opus Habana, vol. II n. 3/98 p. 35. “En realidad, no me interesa saber si estoy actualizado o no, si soy un tipo de vanguardia o no, a pesar de que me considero un hombre abierto a lo nuevo. Cada artista debe tener su tempo, su personalidad, sus ángeles y demonios y esos son los míos y prefiero seguir con ellos.”

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