City and Parable
Author: David Mateo
The exhibition... Like White Elephants complements and summarizes the configuration of that cycle of re-encounters of Guillermo Portieles with the city of Havana and its suggestive scenarios, after a long time away from the capital. We are witnessing a two-dimensional representation of the environment which structures itself and is weighed from a rational or conceptual point of view and has its main sources of artistic inquiries in the immersion experience of first-hand contact and contextual exchange.
In this group of artistic pieces, verging on landscape style, the best pictorial devices of the author are clearly identified; and here I am referring to the merging of drawing and painting, to the geometrical lucubration, the harmonic color gradation and the use of transparencies.
The mixture of the architectural sets portrayed by the artist and the figures of the elephants, alternating direct with feigned representations, serve to stress the rationale of that poetic and at times philosophical perspective that is aimed at in the sample. We could identify, as a first step of that connection, of that parable, an implicit contrast, a struggle between the rugged and the civilized spirit, between the non- adaptability and the deep-rooted feeling. Other symbolic behaviors associated to the animal and its capacity, such as support and compassion, self-acknowledgment, adherence to life paths, natural tendency to act playfully, leaning to confrontation, also contribute to diversify the readings and interpretations of the pieces in the exhibition. They play in favor of investing these singular “urban landscapes”, which are indicative of a new enthronement in the intellectual life of Portieles and his symbolic production, with meaning, with endless paradoxes.