Games of Angels

Notes for an Exposition

/ 1 December, 2018

The exposition Juego de ángeles (Game of Angels) aims to conciliate the deserved homage to a relevant artist with a renovated emphasis by the Havana Museum of Fine Arts in showing displays dedicated to Cuban sculpture, an indispensable artistic expression in the context of the island’s contemporary plastic arts.

The exhibition (…) comprises 55 works made up by 12 sculptures, 17 engravings and 26 drawings that cover a period from 1944 to 1968, (…) almost all the years of fruitful creative work of this prolific artist who unfortunately passed away when his innovative life could offer us perhaps his best works. The selection of the group of his sculptures can particularly seem trifling in number, but it is relevant for its quality and representativeness of the different periods through which the artist traversed. The display begins with Mujer a caballo, a terracotta from 1944 (…)

Unquestionably the airs of contemporariness that reached Cuba in the 1950s would have an influence on a displacement of the figuration in favor of abstraction. This is given in a generalized way of painting, but sculpture also oscillates in that direction. Thus we find from (…) 1952 (…) the execution of a very beautiful sculpture, Fuga, made in iron using oxyacetylene, which would bear witness to the new course through which the work of Eugenio Rodríguez would travel (…) and which will be related to the aesthetic intentions of other artists like Domingo Ravenet, Roberto Estopiñán and José Antonio Díaz Peláez, among others.

New airs will be present in the sculptural work of Eugenio Rodríguez starting 1959. The impact of the nascent Cuban Revolution is inevitable in his artistic work. Thus he achieved an exquisite stylization of the shapes in which he harmonizes figuration and abstraction, favoring a work full of nuances and suggestions. In this way we have in the display Figura indoafrocubana (1959), Fuga (1962) and Viet Nam (1963), three major works in which this artist’s full maturity is expressed.

Other plastic manifestations do not escape his creative concern. (…)Thus we can enjoy xylographies (…) influenced by Mexico’s Popular Graphic Workshop, to others in which his artistic personality already is imposed with its own brilliance like Mujer con gallo (1951), Mujer en la ventana (1952) and Desnudo (circa 1950s). (…) an important group of drawings especially made in the 1960s are also brought together in the display, many of which are closely related to his work as a sculptor. (…)

The title of the exposition Juego de ángeles is a metaphor that questions the poetic ability of Eugenio Rodríguez to give a refined elegance and a renovating light to his entire artistic work, and particularly his work as a sculptor, be it wood carving or assembling, modeling clay or welding metal, all conceived with a deep spirituality, a very particular sensitivity and a unique expression in the context of the island’s plastic arts.

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