Pedro Pablo Oliva… painting, drawing, illustration

/ 8 March, 2014

(…)Since impacting the Cuban scene in the seventies (…) Pedro Pablo has maintained an individual path in which painting, drawing and illustration are at times carefully superimposed without great contradictions. Even when more than forty years have gone by since the presentation of his first works, which caused so much expectation and surprise among the specialized and lay audience, these expressions strive for space on cardboard and canvas. He allows himself to be constantly provoked by them without showing which the one he prefers is. (…) And in the free, volumetric space, Pedro Pablo has also found a path of formal novelties which make him conceive ceramic and bronze pieces of small and middle format appearing as the continuity of his planimetric oeuvre overflowing in children characters, domestic animals, and daily life objects.

(…) What frightens Pedro Pablo is simply exhibiting his works, exposing himself to public ferocity when suspecting that they are still not all he expected of them. (…) That is why it surprised him when last December in Miami, in the Latin Art Core Gallery, he was asked to exhibit his oeuvres in a work visit to that city in Florida. After his initial fright, together with his daghter and his son-in-law, he set himself to the task of gathering oeuvres in private collections to organize a simple and hazardous sample of cardboards and canvases, as well as the bronze pieces he was able to make there. And he surprised everyone and once more received the attention of an audience hardly acquainted with his career and his new experiences after some years not exhibiting in Cuba or abroad. The exhibition retook his main concerns as a draftsman, painter and illustrator. His small and big fables, those obsessing him day and night, were shown so as to leave some evidence of his age, of his intimate and public vicissitudes, and to define himself once again as an incorruptible witness of his times.

(…) Bold and vertiginous attempts, ups and downs, frustrations, obstacles in his long path searching for truth and for life have not daunted his intense spirit of cooperation, solidarity and creation towards Cuban culture and his homeland. (…) That is why Utopito, a character recently created by him, was born to observe and comment the world surrounding him, a distant relative of Abela’s Bobo and Chago’s Salomon. Utopito – optimistic, hopefully expecting the world to change – inquires into human and social nature with the same acuteness and tenderness with which Pedro Pablo Oliva deals with his historical characters: they are the two sides of a curious coin which move us when we are most concerned about earthly issues. (…)

Nelson Herrera Ysla

Nelson Herrera Ysla

Art critic, curator, poet. He is co-founder of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center and of the Havana Biennial, an event he led from 1999 to 2001, and where he is currently curator. He has lectured in numerous countries and published numerous critical texts in specialized publications of Cuba and abroad. General Curator of the XVI Paiz Biennial of Guatemala, 2008. Essay Jury of the Casa de las Américas Prize, 2005, and international art events in Latin America. National Award for Arts Criticism Guy Pérez Cisneros, 2007, and National Prize for Curators 2013, both in Cuba.

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