There Is No More ‘Before’

By Estela Ferrer

I suppose that when five years go by in any artistic career, the foundations become stronger and the debts begin to be settled. In Armando Recamán’s case, his eight-year practice of abstraction already shows several achievements where the creative impulse has finally found the true concerns of its creator.

Although every creative process nourishes from information and experiences born from one’s privacy, several markers may be identified in Mandy’s work that make his work currently tend more toward the spiritual and esoteric, the mysteries of astral cards and no longer that much toward the city, as has been the case with a large part of the local practitioners who offer us the urban space or the colored island, or embrace geometric abstraction.

His recent work has become more synthetic and contains a significant number of his beliefs and experiences: his personal and filial relations coexist with his pact with the moon in all its cycles and with the constant contrast of the chiaroscuro, where white appeals directly to the faith or to medicinal herbs to clear the way and get rid of negative energies. Three different experiences that he interrelates with total ease, knowledge that coexists without conflicts and is harmoniously complemented to create powerful pieces.

It is a relief to know that a personality and his work go together in parity, that the calmness transmitted by the canvas finds an echo in the songs broadcasted by Radio Encyclopedia, that his faith is translated into strokes and signs, and elegantly displayed through a mitigating palette.

Recamán has experience already in group and solo shows. An early piece from 2012 had anticipated his contemporary projection when distancing from his tribute to Carlos Enríquez (part of his series Fantasías, 2010) or from previous works that granted space to the Orishas (as in Olorun), in order to jump to abstraction that same year with his Tribute to Raúl Martínez.

The metaphor is his tool, the linguistic resource to transmit his images. In two mixed technique series on cardboard from 2016 –Pacto con la luna and Encuentros– there is an emotional quality in the colors, and the symbols appear in houses, moons, the artist’s name and the Palo Monte religion. Circles likewise coexist in them with superimposed areas, particularly in Encuentros, turning the reception into a process that involves the close examination of each one of his collages.

In Fluidos (2017) all the elements come together: the vault of heaven and an internal rhythm created with lines that pretend to represent body fluids. Hoy soñé contigo and Osafún show more openly his influence from the landscape, partially due to the color palette with a predominance of green shades; eventually the reference to the four cardinal points and the phenomenon of the countryside and the change become evident. The use of greens, ochre and black is always tempered by a promising white, a light for the new road, a candle of spirituality.

When contemplating this leap in his work, one can assert that there is no more ‘before’. The direct reference to the pre-Hispanic and Yoruba deities has been transformed into a bold reference based on signs and symbols: figuration yields to abstraction. The mind has freed itself from the tributes to focus on an intimate discourse. The city with its structures is relegated to a second place to allow the recreation of a personal understanding of the world and its elements to reign in each piece. The artist and his universe inhabit each part of the canvas in an infinite celebration of life that approaches him to specific codes of the landscape, but without abandoning the road marked by his earthly sign. Therefore, Mandy must be taken into consideration when speaking of contemporary Cuban abstraction. No room for doubts. Congratulations!