Agustín BejaranoUntitled, from the series Los ritos del silencio, 2015
Mixed media on canvas, 113 x 136 cm.
[…] It was in commitment with the spirituality that flowed from Imágenes en el tiempo and from within it, and mixed at a time when a final definition was still difficult and hasty that Agustín Bejarano’s most recent series, named Los ritos del silencio was defined. In it, time continues to be premise, a clause of legitimacy, although his approach now differs from the meaning granted to it by the artist in previous works. If with it Bejarano allowed the memory to recreate his dramaturgy –his story– and after assuming it he succeeded in reaching certain states of permanence, the new series came to be an immediate now or, if one chooses it, a present that denounces in its instantaneousness the drama of human existence, that is destroyed in its own immediacy.
In Los ritos… there is a man, undoubtedly portrayed, but in the way that Bejarano assumes this fact. His portraits deconstruct the genre and at the same time the subject of the representation. After a generic abstraction, man emerges non-differentiated. Each piece creates metaphors of longings, needs, anguishes, loneliness, dreams and desires. In principle, Bejarano does not claim to be relieved from any of these scourges, but he states of denounces them, he leaves evidence of perpetuity while he dissects the spirit of the of the present form the very medulla. The aridity overflows what could be benevolent landscapes and they are places of vociferous sterility. On the border of his craters and abysses man meditates, he suffers on his knees.
Bejarano has use large, medium and small formats in these ceremonies related with silence. The representations refer to “small” beings (which seem to bear the full weight of the fate of mankind), dressed up with hats and frequently winged, placed on top of scaffolds and ladders, to establish in addition an intimate relationship with the desolated and austere “landscapes” –philosophical origin close to Zen– in which he turned craters and abysses, city shadows, and spectral towns with skinny trees into routine.
Not in the least classic are the places he takes us to, with the skill of a surgeon, when he makes a big cut to show us some problems that suffocate contemporary society: the lack of communication, the loneliness and the fragility and impotence of man today in the face of the huge conflicts that gravitate upon him.
These landscapes of his, which are born of unquestionably abstract depths, expand in sepia, pale blues, sienna, ocher in their most mythical intensities, with pastel greens, very dark olives, whites and abundant foggy density and one or another warm touch of synthetic orange or pale rose. They emerge in the material, in more moderate crazing and in the effects of paper pasted and worked upon on the canvas surfaces, suggestive to the hand as if they were a different writing made more for the touch of the soul than for the distraction of the eye, together with other zones worn down by the bite of time, as impartial witness of nature and human essence, molded in very diverse formats, including circular ones.
All this become part of the somewhat unearthly and desolate atmosphere in which his characters calm their spirit, absorbed in an omnipotent, higher force that lies above them. A force that some would call fate, but which is simply the challenge of existence expressed in the dispute that takes place between silence and emptiness […].1
1. Caridad Blanco, “Agustín Bejarano, The rain of days,” in Agustín Bejarano, Obras 1987 – 2000 (Havana: Artecubano Ediciones, 2006), 165.