The work of the Cuban artist Frank Mujica Chávez is inserted into th rich and very often convulsed tradition of landscape. Starting with profound research into the genre, in search of attitudes and gestures through their evolution both in Cuban and international contexts, an understanding of the essential elements in the most sophisticated process of construction and elaboration of landscape through the drawing is proposed, along with the challenge this assumes for the eye of the contemporary viewer. His studies on painting at the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts, the great conflicts in ideo-aesthetic terms suffered at the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) and at the “Cátedra de Conducta” directed by the artist Tania Bruguera,3 besides his permanent collaboration with the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba for the past three years, have shaped his very personal philosophy about the artistic creation.
From pictorial tradition, he has studied well the works of Cuban painters Domingo Ramos and Tomás Sánchez,4 who have indirectly influenced his formation from gesture and innovating spirit. Internationally, the landscape painters of the Dutch and Flemish seventeenth century, and experiences such as the Barbizon and Hudson River schools have become unavoidable too in order to understand the process. Figures such as the Englishman John Constable and the American James Abbott McNeill Whistler5 developed a type of drawing closer to emotion and estrangement that later on Mujica has claimed for his own poetics.
The artist structures a drawing which proposes and develops a particular style of looking, judging and assessing, without denying the cultural tradition which it implicitly bears. He neither denies nor continues; he calls a sort of truce out of his study of tradition. For him “learning to observe, to recognize which are the cultural codes that condition our gaze, to disconnect from them without denying them but enriching them, this is learning to elaborate a landscape from an unusual perspective. Therefore, it shows a single work just where the everyday gaze doesn’t stop”. It is this projection which gives him the possibility of expanding his conception of the genre towards other horizons, in that perennial opportunity of reflection about himself and the eternal reinvention of his surroundings. Landscape provides him that intimate space we all need.
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