Ethics Explained According to Geometry
By Ángel Pérez
Those who think they are informed about the contemporary artistic landscape will regard Yuniel D’Casal’s work as a brazen hoax. They might think, for example, that in midst of so many social urgencies and political experiences one must have courage to sacrifice the work’s dialogical quality in favor of a playful essay with the expressive value of the formal plane. However, this «apparent» linguistic joke hides more than one motive of interest; first of all, because whenever an image is composed, the resulting text hides more than it says. It is precisely this network of absences that becomes significant when weighing the coordinates of the youngest Cuban artists; this is the reading gap that allows us to scrutinize their ways of aesthetizing reality, no matter how personal it may be.
Yuniel’s visual exercises are not afraid to openly expose his stylistic ancestry. In fact, the retinal seduction mechanisms activated by him originate to a large extent in a legacy based on the very surface of the pieces: from neoplasticism and the Bauhaus, through kinetic art and minimalism, to pop art, the aesthetics of mass media and kitsch. But Yuniel’s liking of pastiche does not involve a discursive will that will take those stilemas as pretext to deploy intellectual reflections on the present; his gesture is, above all, an experimentation with the basic attributes of representation: space, composition, colors… He even renounces to direct emotion by focusing on a synthesis of the painting repertoire that we could call mathematical.
He restricts himself to it with total consciousness: from the horizontality of the line, the planimetry and neutrality of color, the geometrization, balance and symmetry of the compositions, to the physical impact of the artifice. Yuniel deploys here a clear manipulation of the receptive capacity: what is presented to me, can it even be assumed as a work of art? Positioned at that crossroads, he then manages to present, rather to reconcile, certain ideas about art itself, its autonomy, free from mediations that are not morphological. Likewise, it would be necessary to pay attention to the emphasis introduced by titles, courses of interpretation that project more than one sardonic wink in this regard.
Now, does self-sufficiency generate an emptying of meaning? Does the simultaneous celebration and reductionism of the expressive plane imply lack of communicational ability? Certainly not. The question would be: What does Yuniel’s discourse respond to or where does it emerge from? I dare speculate that those coordinates along which the artist moves draw attention to an agonic cultural panorama, shaken for at least three decades by forceful social imperatives, which have produced an axiological corpus of complex analysis. If we transcend the visual contemplation proposed by ABC; if we move beyond its games of senses, braided between titles and images, more than one suggestive fact will become evident to understand what is happening with contemporary Cuban art.