Entering the fictional universe Ernesto Rancaño has built with his artistic endeavor is a risky task. The weightlessness of those lands impels us to fall into nostalgia’s dream. That is his speech’s central issue. He goes back to it with an affable and thorough procedure. He founds the myth of modern times: a modern Icarus who has fallen, face-down to the ground, because of his pride’s weight; sunlight has hurt him; the wings that impelled him have dropped in the flight; the utopia of freedom has betrayed him. Rancaño accesses to classical mythological language and he shows himself before us, as a true sophist, in sublime silence act.
His way of working comes from postmodern art traditional topics: it is not simulation, nor stratagem. The possibilities of classicism –and not pastiche– for Cuban contemporary art become real in Rancaño’s aesthetical universe. Naked body –devoid of any sexual connotations–, impressive white shades’ asceticism, the parsimony of an extremely delicate chiaroscuro, restraint as pathos’ tessitura, monumentality as a trauma. He has explored the paths of subjectivity, emotions and skin, and he has offered them candid myths.
His figurative proposal has a starting point in photography: related to American Hyperrealistic artist Chuck Close in terms of procedures, Rancaño prints on canvas or silk the images he wants to build. Since the very previous moment of capturing it, the referent has been manipulated in a synthesized, cuasi minimal, extremely refined theatrical sense. With the favor of the material he uses in printing, he crowns the first image of highly sensual essence. Finally, it is due to his meticulous and rigidly restrained drawing that he fixes them to the dreamlike aura that distinguishes them. His intention is not a call for attention on the automation of human experience under current conditions, as it was in Hyperrealism, but a restoring gesture, a sort of sublimation that seeks to give myths to ordinary.
That effort has led him to dabble in other media, such as installation of light boxes, shadows projections, and objects installations. In the roots of all those procedures lies a highly dramatic tone: nostalgia turns into the evidence of an absence, a trace’s statement, the judgment of a never-satisfied impulse and pain. Thus, light transfigures from factual resource into leitmotif, along with its opposite: shadows. It projects moving images inoculated of their gloom, painful illusions, memories, pathetic remains. But it is a controlled, enjoyable, seductive anguish what Rancaño enunciates. It is mediate experience of access to the memory of something endearing, and the paradoxically pleasurable suffering that the indisputable evidence it of such absence leaves after. Such a force is the door which leads to the experience the world in current times: a perennial sense of emptiness, which is only filled through gloating in the anxiety that cradles it.