Joel Besmar: Painting and perception of the world

/ 1 September, 2018

Not many artistic trajectories are as engrossed as that of Joel Besmar (Camagüey, 1968). His personal expositions have frequently dealt with the simultaneous theme of painting and the essence of culture as cardinal points of his work.

His painting concentrates on a study of our times. Establishing an era’s air in terms of the essence of knowledge and the sense of culture is obvious to him. That ambitious aspiration reaches its highest expression and intensity in works in which the image of the book becomes a central symbol of the contemporary human condition. (…) A superficial revision of the specificities of the artist’s themes—particularly the works in the last decade—easily allows us to identify four semantic guidelines in his work.

The fist thematic tendency can be denominated as an investigation of a model of the cosmos: it pictorially deals with an identification between the human being and the Whole, a man- cosmic space correspondence whose essence could be linked to the connections contained in certain metaphysical “maps” of the infinite, like the Tree of Life, common to the Cabala and to Genesis. I don’t attribute a hermetic sense to Besmar’s work but I rather point out his investigative aspiration, a peculiarity that links him to what Omar Calabrese has considered as a tendency of our times: the passionate interest in the neo-baroque, brilliantly theorized by painter and writer Severo Sarduy. (…)

The pictorial treatment is based according to a shuddering image about the sense of human life. In the case of Humani corporis fabrica (2013), where the object of attention is the factory of the human body (…). The man in this canvas consists of a bookcase, a crowded mix of diverse symbolic elements (…). The factory of the human appears as an inscrutable fusion of body and culture, of science and art, of knowledge and uncertainty. Besmar’s symbolic bookcase safeguards the very essence of the human: culture condemns us to the sacrifice of our very being for the sake of defending our form of self-representation. The reiterated breakability in Besmar’s work alludes to the aesthetic enjoyment of discovering the form of the universal in the infinite reiteration of reality. A representative work is El libro de la creación (2012)— an allusion to Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew: “Book of Creation”)—, in which the book repeats itself and creates a new object from its own random repetitions. (…)

The thematic tendencies of the artist build a visual universe of a vehement strength. The technical precision, the purity of the treatment of complex spaces, the imaginative capacity of their well-defied images of books and bookcases, which are metaphors of higher spaces of the essential human, are surprising. Besmar has chosen to work on our perception of the world. And in this lies his extraordinary and challenging path as a painter.

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