critical texts


David Mateo
By: David Mateo

In Agustín Bejarano’s paintings is not possible to disregard the dictates of drawing. It is in itself a subterfuge, a pretext of its procedures and systems. If it was through engraving that the capacity for drawing got its highest resolving power, it was through painting that became more and more perceptible, and complex at the same time.

In the evolutionary sequence of graphics in Bejarano’s work are reflected the different variations experienced by his drawing as the essence of the composition, of the structure, to reach synthesis and above all the expressive strength of his imagery. In correspondence with this, three clear-cut iconographic facets can be seen, in which prevail nearly all the time the human forms: some championing the exaltation of the undulating, detailed lines; some tending to what is constructive and geometric; and a third that favor the conjunction of both choices for the sake of a better fullness of its brushstrokes.

Through an exclusive use of drawing, it would have been slower and complicated to reach the creative strategy he holds today; it was for this reason that he decided to speed up the process starting from the conditions of value and shade that implementing his work using acrylic and combining different techniques and textures on the canvas could offer, and through which he discovered not only new effects, but also original ways of outlining and describing. This inquiry shows common grounds with those early compressions in acetate, in which one could already notice, in a somewhat incipient way, the need for an additional contrivance.

Finding the right balance between basic drawing, graphic sketch and shades of color it has been, has been one of his greatest achievements; in addition to imposing a style of his own within that drawing perception of painting also explored by paradigmatic figures of the Cuban plastic arts like Wifredo Lam, Acosta León, Carlos Enríquez, Marcelo Pogolotti and Fidelio Ponce, among others, with whom I believe he has increasingly identified his work in a very interesting way over the past few years.

Understanding how significant drawing was and is as the basement of his work is also indispensable to unravel the elevated scantiness, the transparent rationalism of his most recent painting, especially those belonging to the series Imágenes en el tiempo and Los ritos del silencio. It is a scantiness, a rationalism that keeps friends ―in my opinion―, with the drawing precepts and with the notions of graphics, and has in the act of suppressing, more than the purpose of overflowing, the intention of condensing. It is like if imaginings rearrange their symbolic prominence, concentrating their meaning by means of what others have called “scantiness sufficiency” with the specificity of drawing, without scorning in it, of course, all the invocative excuse that states and categories like silence and time have had in his work.

But if what is nowadays sprayed through drawing comes ever happily to the stages, and overflow the limits and expands into the undetermined or the generic, that would be because the foundation of whatever defines it and distinguishes it have changed. Although, could anyone dare to foresee the fate of a unique, vertical methodology...? It has been more than proved that in Agustín Bejarano’s work all the sinuosities, all the transformations, are always to be expected.

(David Mateo, art critic. In: Revolución y Cultura, Nº 4, October/November/December, 2004. Period V, page 34)