critical texts


Restoration of Identities
Nelson Herrera Ysla
Restoration of Identities
Backed up with the equipment of several artistic expressions, an undeniable artistic vocation, talent, imagination and the necessary conscience not to rush in pursuit of de contrived acknowledgments or take a false step, Leo D´Lázaro proposes ideo-aesthetic solutions and formal structures within the field of artistic installation that show, from different angles, the hybridity and interdisciplinarity his specific discourse stand within the Cuban contemporary visual panorama.

His sound formation in the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts, specifically in the grounds of sculpture, provided him with the perfect foundations to model a wide repertoire of materials and their significance in space, and allowed him in turn defining some of the codes he would use later in more complex works, not only to be exhibited in enclosed places but some even outdoors, located nowadays in places of urban importance in several cities of the country. But his preoccupations did not stop in the tangible circle of the three dimensions. He also made incursions into painting, photography, graphic design, given his multiple interests.

After exploring different materials and formats, he finds in the artistic installation his expressive language and with it he thinks to answer more efficiently to the dictates of his reason and his emotions, which are numerous: just to mention some of them, I would say that man and his identity, man and his immediate circumstances; from there the creation of a great number of structures and characters, to a metaphoric and allegoric level, by means of which the artist expresses himself.

For Leo D´Lázaro, however, more than dictates, they have become the focus of attention of his obsessions, even when we might not recognize immediately a human figure as such in his works. He prefers resorting to the use of objects close to man, which are easily identifiable, to create around the human existence a rich universe, full of suggesting images and created forms, in which every observer feels himself represented through the mentioned characters and structures.

But, although Leo D´Lázaro is specially —and deeply— fond of artistic installations, he continues expressing himself on canvas, silk, photographic paper or card, in pursuit of those means which are better responding to the questions that day by day his inquiring spirit asks: one or the other exclusively is not enough for him, but working on several of them at the same time, either separately or intermingled, and in which harmony and coherence always predominate.

In this sense, the artist lacks of aesthetic prejudices since he resorts to the means he consider he can use to express his ideas better in an specific moment, and incorporates those objects from the material world that can sustain better the construction of his discourse around man.

His findings, fortunately, have helped him to formulate a collection of personal and universal codes in which we can identify progressively doors, windows, frames, in short, those elements that allow him to reflect on confinement, opening, the natural systems, the people and their environment daily, the man as such, from a point of view away from present tendencies, trends, without underestimating their influence and where his interrelation with the spectators through imagination and creativity prevails above all else.

That is why the artist’s studio has been conceived as a great real scenery in which everybody can come in and watch the works interacting among them, or separately, contrastingly, all of which he takes advantage of to detect the spectator’s reactions towards life or his own identity: it is in this precise moment in which, according to him, his creative process reaches its climax.

Without a doubt, Leo D´Lázaro burst today mightily into the national scene. He has succeeded in consolidating a personal language among the plural and multifaceted web of our visual life, where infinite artistic practices proliferate, attracting the attention in and out of our circles.

Nelson Herrera Ysla (Published in: OPUS Habana, Vol. IX, Nº1. 2005)