When we realize that abstract is not such due to its internal, deep down relations with the spiritual and even the mystical1, we reach a level of understanding of an artistic, poetic and gnoseologic expression that crosses and surpasses the obsolete notions about the «non-figurative» language, since it is not based on the creation from references at hand, or from the interpretation of a reality that appears to us as such, but from an imagery that is not hand-tied by the «recognizable» or the commonly existing.
That is why the works of Yunior Marino (Holguin, 1976) confront us with processes that oscillate between the intellective and the emotional; because they are neither one nor the other, resulting in a strange point of intuitive confluence that leads him to a personal meditative state of ecstasy or «inscent». His paintings, sculptural, extensive, and luminescent extensions; the environments he has created by combining different morphologies; his penchant for sound and music and the omnipresent persistence of his procedural and convergent nature leads us to a middle point that I venture to compare with what alchemists thought about magic, and which for mystics is the transcendence of existence: a state of tasty positive, oxygenating indetermination that does not need to be specified or explained. Because in it, Reason is not entirely pertinent and temporal is not an enslaving sensation, but an enjoyment of the «eternal instant».
In another perspective, it would be a personal way of understanding and applying anthropology from its essential self-meditative nature. Consequently, to know oneself in a here and now, that Dasein that links with an old need to scrutinize oneself, without narratives or long-repeated symbols. A being that invites us to savor something deliciously indefinable.
With a different way of making art at the beginning of the new century, Yunior Mariño revitalizes and is a forerunner of paths continued by other artists in a context like Cuba. But he transcends that circumstance and moves away from the vanities generated by the artistic field to process his «inxile»; at the same time he attacks personally and creatively against the falsehoods of identity constructions.2 It is in that way that he thinks, feels and transcends from his works. But it is a way of thinking and feeling that only a creator familiar with the environment knows what it is like, and uses it to penetrate other personal conditions. Something that is also inexplicable, but that the trained ones can sense and perceive by saying to themselves: this is how it should be. This knowledge of the inner rules of the morphologies of art sharpens the sensitivity to exercise creation in such a way that we can prove, if we can get there, that it is precise, exact and transcendent.
He does not work like some do in painting, who fill in by coloring; he does not hang the works like others do, he installs them. From them he derives, prolongs, flows toward other media. He uses what has been «validated» to review it, and does not deny but includes, no matter how much he wants to distance himself from the principle that art, according to Barthesian, is a mosaic of quotations, paraphrases, and parodies that when properly metabolized result in other intelligent works.
But although he does not renounce to it, he does not understand that historical experience turned into a shackle. He is tired of many things and reacts by removing the theoretical and conceptual goggles –or apparently conceptual but actually empty– with which a great deal of art is thought, and painting as part of it.
The decay or stagnation of many tools in the visual arts is part of the numerous cyclical, conservative and fundamentalist purges that have occurred in its history. And it must be read in its own tradition. What can distinguish the current purge of contemporary Art, with its formal hemorrhages, its poor conceptual sustenance and its need of show, is largely due to its low symbolic profile at present. Hence its apparent high narrative profile, again pamphletary or merely empty, that once again insults the intelligence and sensitivity of the assiduous to the field of art, not only visual, but also cinematographic, scenic, even musical, and literary: for being part of a systemic problem no longer unique to the West that feeds the trivialization that surrounds us.
Although he does not propose a political work, Yunior Mariño reacts, like others of us who lived through disappointments and times of uncertainty, against that toxic state of art, a sort of detachment from its excesses and faults based on the procedures he employs, maintaining an obsession to feel the temporariness –the way in which we weigh time– with a warmth that derives from the intensity of his creations.
He preserves his exercise of freedom of expression –in spite of other social, institutional and commercial rules he has had to live by– to walk as an experienced artist through the intricacies of the poetic, with intertexts rarefied by him until generating visual fields with something of metaphysical mystery, evocative of the immensity of the universe to which we belong and which we so easily forget because of our pedestrian perceptions.
* This text summarizes a more extensive one in process on the work of Yunior Mariño for almost twenty years. In it, I try to delve deep into the creative relations he establishes among painting, objects, installations, photographs, environments, music and other combining media, with a high sense of processing. From different standpoints and proposals, I return to the opinions I had expressed some years ago in relation with Alejandro Campins, one of those I consider to a great extent, part of his continuators.
- Let’s just remember the considerations brought to his creations by Hilma af Klint, Kandinsky, Malevitch, Kupka, Delaunay,… Pollock, Pat Steir, among many others.
- It is necessary to clarify that since 2008 Yunior begins a vital and existential journey that includes USA, Canada and later Mexico, in each experience with specific particularities given the circumstances of each context. This leads him artistically in different ways, without being interested in the falsehoods of success, but by generating events of intercultural value in his eagerness for the universal.