Agustín BejaranoEl cazador, 1998
Acrylic on canvas, 210 x 220 cm.
Desperate Hope. Agustín Bejarano and The Hunter
In the diachronic creation of Agustín Bejarano’s work, a singular plurality of styles, techniques, supports and themes reveals itself. Nevertheless, if we were to establish a common denominator for his production, it would undoubtedly be sustained by his constant inquiry into human nature as a receptacle for the most dissimilar spiritual contradictions possible. The tenacity with which he observes each one of our interstices (of his interstices) bifurcates under the metaphysical appearance of dreams, utopias and ripped stories he himself tells us. Perhaps, that is why some of the artist’s series show, in his attitude, a child who clings, almost irrationally, to his innocence; to virgin spaces of thought and adventure; to sort of fantastic environments in which, at last, peace reigns and there are none of the horrors of reality.
El cazador (The hunter, 1998), from the series Angelotes (Angels), is one of the works that weaves in itself the most distinctive elements of all the artistic production of Bejarano. It condenses and intertwines the main aesthetic and thematic journeys that he has sharply developed over 40 years of work. The Renaissance breath that inspires his admiration for the Western art, the inclusion of Ukiyo-e aesthetics, as well as his appropriation of neo-expressionism, or other more contemporary styles such as pop, make of his the work a swarm of accumulated knowledge around painting and, why not, engraving.
On the other hand, the journey that this particular work has had through some of the artist’s series make it a turning point in his production. One can perceive in The Hunter the vestige of his series Tierra húmeda (Humid land, 1996), in which a certain abstractionist will is pointed out, and in which the forms barely emerge from unfinished lines and spaces. In addition, the presence of the bird –from his series Marea baja (Low tide, 1997)–, is wielded to overlap what later took the form of his Angels (1998) series. In this way, the artist is refining while cementing a whole universe of symbols and singular ways that already become distinctive in the panorama of contemporary Cuban art.
On this occasion, Bejarano builds around the angel the emancipatory discourse of a conscience supported by an existentialist vertebral column, deeply buried under layers of wisdom and spontaneity. With this immaterial being, the bird shares the ability to fly, a gift from God, which man, by natural law, cannot and should not have. Then, the commotion arises around the impossibility of flight. To move, to flee, to emigrate, but also, to return; so can the man, even if not always with full spontaneity, as the bird could. But on this journey we undertake, the angel suggests help. Except in this case, Bejarano’s skepticism about the winged figure makes us question the guarantee of protection. Then, it may not be the angel or the bird, but the man, and only he, as “hunter,” ventures into the jungle in which we continuously penetrate.
–Modesto D. Serpa