HAVANA TIMES, April 5 — HT interviewed the visual artist Fabian Fernandez Gonzalez, the creator of an interesting pictorial work that has been exhibited in the circuit of galleries extending across the island, as well as in shows in other countries.
According to what he told us here, his creative process is nurtured from everything that takes place around him.
HT: You graduated from the San Alejandro Arts Academy?
FF: I interrupted my studies in Cuba in the middle of my third year at San Alejandro due to a family trip to Chile. So I finished my visual arts studies there.
HT: You completed your instruction in the Artistic Experimental Secondary School of Chile.
FF: The Artistic Experimental Secondary school admitted me so that I could continue my artistic training for two terms. I graduated in 1997.
HT: In that South American country you also had the opportunity to participate in and found interesting projects. Tell us about these experiences during the period when you were in Chile.
FF: I had the chance to exhibit there in several galleries and to found an artistic community named after the famous Cuban creator Wifredo Lam. It was made up of other important artists from Cuba, Chile and other nations, but it didn’t contain only visual artists – there were also musicians, artisans, designers, etc… There, through institutions related to culture, I taught courses in drawing and painting to low income students, mainly children from 12 to 13 years of age.
HT: In the most important visual arts event held in Cuba, the Biennial of Havana, in its tenth edition you collaborated with the Australian artist Michael Goldberg. `What exactly did your work with this guest creator consist of?
FF: This great Australian artist requested a pair of young collaborators, so the Wifredo Lam Center called up me and Alcides Perez, another comrade who was studying at San Alejandro. We had the good luck of supporting him in his “Performance,” drawing and painting at the Cabaña Fortress exhibition site, where his piece was located. In this way we interacted with the public that came to view his installations.
HT: From your first personal exhibition, which took place in Chile, to your most current creative stage in which we find the work “Desvelos” and other more recent samples in Havana galleries, one can perceive momentous change in your interests as a painter.
FF: In conformity with my personal experiences, my work has been going through modifications in its technical form as well as its formal content, breathing in each emotion with me and consequently transforming and evolving. I expect that as the years go by I’ll simplify and concentrate more on conceptualizing so as to economize resources, than in the formal aspect itself, to strengthen my expressive strategies.
HT: When one speaks of concepts, we realize that your work is marked by a world created by you as an artist who goes beyond a simple visualization; a world populated with inhabitants that fill your work with life. What can you say in this respect?
FF: The interior process that enriches itself with everything that happens around me is perhaps what nurtures that world, which I try to transport to the mysterious nature of the two-dimensionality of painting. Everything appears and flows. These characters, beings or forms combined in color concern the subjectivity of that very universe. These live captured in my consciousness to continue a game that perhaps has its end beyond death.
HT: And the feminine presence, I believe that it defines your painting to some degree?
FF: The woman’s presence is determined by its natural sensuality, the delicateness that envelopes the form and image of this gender. In the beginning femininity intervened, not only of that of human nature but of many other species as well, therefore this presence is subject to that same origin of all things.
HT: People interested in the commercialization of your work will surely want to know where your studio-workshop is located. Can you give us the details?
FF: As I said previously, I nurture myself on everything that takes place. For years I’ve liked for my studios to be in places different from where I live. In this way I can interact directly with the spectators, and my work becomes much more enriched. My studio is located in Old Havana, close to the sea. The address is 56 Cuba Street, between Cuarteles and Peña Pobre streets.
HT: What is the life of a visual artist in Cuba when we think of resources, keeping in mind everything related to the production and development of ideas, starting from your own experience of course?
FF: When I speak of resources I can’t stop thinking of painting materials. In that sense I can say that it’s difficult to get them, the paint, the canvas, etc.… Artists tied to the Cuban Fund of Cultural Resources have a store where we can save a little on the prices. Nevertheless, the materials are occasionally scarce and we have to get them or simply wait for them to appear through other avenues. The consequence is that it takes a while to obtain those things related to production and creation.
HT: Tell us some important work that is occupying your time right now?
FF: I am wrapped up in several initiatives simultaneously, and not only works for exhibits. In the next few days I’ll begin working in a hotel in the Miramar area, and I’m anxiously looking forward to interacting with the public. I’ll create my works live with the intention of dialoguing with those present. I’ve also been invited to exhibit at the Hotel Raquel in Old Havana. In addition I have other commitments in upcoming collective exhibits. I’m also preparing for an exhibition outside of Cuba, perhaps at the end of the year.