Force and Fragility

By Antonio Correa Iglesias

Use my body as the pages of a book.
Peter Greenaway, The Bedside Book

In Peter Greenaway’s The Bedside Book (1996), when Jerome suggests Nagiko to rewrite the book on his body assuming it as territory or map, he is using it as medium to express love, revenge, the passing of time, and death.

Painting as writing, as reflexive exercise, also involves the body, a body broached from its own self-referential representation.

The obsession for the body has led western culture to the search of beauty as pathological condition, while the own creation of a corporal identity has been the basis of all ontology. The body as reference and archetype. The body as canvas, as map to write on, the body from which time becomes “visible”; it all shows signs of a concern that devours human existence.

Painting, like any form of contemporary art, is preceded by unwonted reminiscences, remembrances and evocations that unexpectedly startle us. Contemporary art has gained the loss of a canonic didacticism, and Andy Llanes Bultó (San Antonio de los Baños, 1987) plays with these paradoxes to free his somber characters from the resentment caused by their loneliness.

Andy Llanes’ figures are men without faces or faces without bodies, blurred, as if their heads had been changed, as belonging to another dimension where they shiver and contort themselves. They are androgynous bodies that search one another in unity and difference, bodies from which a fiction emerges as limited space devoured by time.

Andy Llanes achieves a visual synthesis that includes all the bodies in its unity. The transvestite body transgressed by a wish; the transparency of the body in its decomposition and death. The body as laceration, as deep wound that recalls a dream or a nightmare. The fragmented body. “The body […] is the sudden reminiscence. The body is the permanence of infinite surge, the form of a memory, i.e., an image. ” The resurrection of the bodies as hyperthermia of immortality.

Andy Llanes Bultó has created an evocative and beautiful body of work of complex simplicity. At first sight they are bodies enduring a burden, a feeling they try to expurgate through the earnest contortion of their gestures. The chromatic reduction underlines that feeling. More than a chromatic reduction, Andy Llanes intends to achieve a deepening, an exploration with the sole purpose of stressing the pathos of the ineffable. With strong influences from Impressionism and photo-realism, Andy Llanes abounds in techniques that end in an exercise of profound seduction and eroticism. A seduction full of hidden aspects, of small, very fragile frightening winks.

His choice of a compulsory circularity for his “framings” is noteworthy. The circular form in most of his canvases recalls the profound state of perfection of the spheres in the orphic world, an experience of the senses that destroys time and leads to moral purity. The infinite circularity introduces a dynamics that is closer to the germinative search than to the perpetual cutting of the lines as conclusive causality.

Andy Llanes Bultó recalls in his painting the search of the own self, the search of the other (the androgynous) that is present in oneself. They are forceful strokes, as of one opening the way in gravitating darkness, with an emphasis in chiaroscuros and with sepias as confluent polarities. In the end, no one can account for the fears conceived by the human being; Andy Llanes, however, approaches a search that is full of volatile fragments.

Ritual (2017-2018) is an exquisite series, a refined gift for our senses. But Ritual is also a convincing example of the turn in Cuban painting in the last twenty years. Ritual is the emphatic demonstration that it can be made using a support with more than two thousand years of tradition. Ritual is a series that covers the inexhaustible human mystery in its interceptions and forks. Andy Llanes Bultó is an essential link in that group of new Cuban painters that have achieved fair recognition in their contemporariness thanks to an image that equals the best of international contemporary art. Like a dedicated craftsman, he prepares his brushes to anticipate the cosmos of creation in an act of unknown purpose.

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