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Alberto Sautúa: intuition, colour and imagination

Pink Floyd accompanies his creative work working day. He begins to mark the material. There isn’t a sketch or a previous idea, only imagination. Then a type of world comes to life on the canvas and beautiful beings of light are born, dragonflies, butterflies, beetles, faces, bodies.


Yelena Rodriguez Velazquez

Text and Photos: Prensa Latina


From these elements, this Cuban fine artist develops his work. His creations complete a series about women and nature connected with the fantasies around human beings, maternity and evolution.

The specialists agree that these pieces hold a great beauty and are both disturbing and shocking. He meets me in his studio, amid his creative whirlpool because of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema to which he is donating to the Latin Press one of his works as a Glouber Roucher prize, competition collateral.

As well as painting and music, he is passionate about the seventh art. He affirms that he has always been a follower of Latin American film and in his youth, he was part of the vanguard of young people that almost did not eat or sleep following the films and proposals of the festival.

He says that the piece that he is donating as the prize, is very Latin American. It forms part of this creative cycle wherein you can find its colours, lights and elements that feed all of this magic that this region has.

In front of the camera Alberto is a man of few words, but passionate and talkative with his paintbrush.

Engraver and painter, in this order and of his own volition, Sautúa was the first of his clan to dedicate himself professionally to the fine arts.

Part of his training was at the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro, where he graduated in 1995 in Engraving and Graphic Arts; he specialized even further in the Havana Experimental Graphics Workshop.

It was a life choice. I like it a lot and for this reason I developed good techniques especially in colography, chalcography and xylography, but especially in lithography, describes the creator.

From the second year of the specialty, I wanted to experiment in engraving because it is a wider world, with multiple possibilities. To develop it requires the right equipment:    press, roller, space.

“Actually – he clarifies-, it has helped me a lot to embark on painting. For example, I use diverse aesthetic results and textures of printing that I try to incorporate in my painted work.”

Regarding the opinion of the development of printing in Cuba, he explains “In Cuba we have excellent printers. I had Belkis Ayón as a teacher, an excellent Cuban artist, who developed all of her work in graphics. There exists an enormous potential to work with graphics in the Island. I think that this also motivated me,” he says.

The anthology “El libro del taller” (The workshop book), published in 2002, collects the works of various creatives, living or not, that have dedicated their careers to this speciality. Despite being young, his name appears there including on the list of consecrated creators as an emerging artist.

In the volume, you can find various lithographs that respond to a more rebellious, expressionist and vanguardist idea about human nature and the world of theatre.

But what are the themes and elements that are central to his work as a printer?

Then he responds: “I developed a lithographic exhibition in the Diago Gallery, and I participated in numerous national and international printing events. Later, I ventured strongly into painting within my own personal studio. From the painting I have experimented with an evolution of what I was doing, adapting myself to this reality.”

His background has a relation with the colours that he uses, in harmony with the progress that he has experimented with as artifice and the work developed in painting since 2006.

“The use of colour turns out to be very complex. As a printer, I was very monochromatic and with this step towards painting, I have opened up a palette of colour. It is something intuitive, “he affirms.

This palette, as he has already said, is an unconscious reflection of his dreams and desires, his experiences both past and present of his experiences, fears and uncertainties.

One of his series called “Alas para la alma” (Wings for the soul) came about during the pregnancy of his wife and formed part of his experiences of fatherhood.

These pieces evoke a small girl that is on her way and they show a stage of desire and strength of waiting and knowledge of her arrival in the world. From there are pieces like Sweet dreams” and “Insomnia”, responding to these important moments that approach. Like all artists to produce personal exhibitions and to be part of collective projects bring joy and incentive to the soul, and Alberto has had the luck to enjoy with abundance this happiness.

Although he has had various exhibitions and publications, he doesn’t have any preference or consider any more superior to another as each one marks different moments in his life.

To him, they trace a path and they are like steps on a ladder that allow him to ascend: “It is difficult to agree on one exhibition or a series of works specifically. I can tell you, my exhibition in the Galeano Gallery called “La engañosa calma del silencio” (2009) that marked the beginning and end of a stage. I also remember “Crisalida” that was the title of the piece selected for the event Art and Fashion in 2012. In this opportunity my wife was the designer and her work, inspired my work, I used my paints on textiles.”

Outside of Cuba, Sautúa’s work has been exhibited in important galleries and centres in Germany, Canada, United States and China. Today he concentrates in a new work space and, for the beginning of 2021, he will prepare an exhibition. (PL)

(Translated by Carol M Byrne)

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