It is not the first time that the Cuban graphic and painting artist Luis Miguel Valdés assumes Havana as thematic and iconographic "package" marked by his fantasy. Colonial buildings of the Caribbean capital of Cuba come to life and even anthropomorphic similarities in some series of his paintings and pictorial visions. Even when this architect was born and lived his childhood and adolescence in Pinar del Río, from the beginning of his professional debut in the plastic art of Cuba he began to feel - as a mandate of the spirit - the need to turn into art what his eyes contemplated of the Havana landscape. Also derived from his works in drawing and engraving some symbols and characters that are part of the imaginary of this city, in which poverty and fable, imagination and excessiveness, epic and coven, have had a constant presence.
Now, when Luis Miguel has been a recognized artist and printer on Mexican soil for a few years, currently in Cuernavaca, he continues to show us that the distance that physically separates him from Havana does not prevent him from continuing to feel the latter as an experience and stimulus of your subjectivity. The name of the workshop that serves both Mexican and Cuban artists reveals it: La Siempre Habana. Thus, the results of a mixture of reverie and nostalgia, in which city silhouettes, referents of the tropics and Mesoamerican spaces, are imbued, are born from its metals and woods, giving way to a kind of uninterrupted visual “cantata” provided with evocation and sensualism. It seems that the Cuban city in question was a kind of woman impossible to forget for this creator. Hence the poetic effusions that sometimes reach erotic temperatures in their realizations.
A huge wood engraving illuminated in watercolor, whose measure is none other than 121 cms by 176 cms, once again places interest in Havana in the work of Valdés. The piece is titled Infinite Havana (1); and it appears conformed by a vaulted ceiling supported by 11 columns that delimit spaces where - at home one of them - a peripeteia passes, a symbol or certain determined traditional value of the city is affirmed. More by digested culture than by recurrence chosen, the graphic composition reminds us of the essay named “The city of columns” by Alejo Carpentier and one of the capital works of the Cuban painter Angel Acosta León: his almost zoomorphic Carrousel. The engraver deploys there his attachment to the representation that arises from the link between drawing, ornamental design and a certain inclination to cartography, which in that case modifies the vision of an architectural plan, turning everything into a party venue intended to grant attributes of pleasure to the signs preserved in memory.
That engraving Infinite Havana integrates the permanent collection of the China Printing Museum, participated in the Guanlan Biennial in Zhenzhen 2015, was exhibited at the Bilbao International Graphics Fair in 2016, was in an exhibition of the author entitled La Isla in Acapulco; and will soon appear in a personal exhibition of his in the Covarrubias gallery in Mexico City. With all that endorsement, Luis Miguel Valdés decided to donate the right of reproduction to be instituted as a distinctive poster image of the Marabana to be carried out in this year 2019. That Havana that lives in Luis Miguel will go for a walk through the real Havana, among the numerous competitors…