By an interesting coincidence, just as the cultural world continues from one continent to another, paying tribute in its centenary to Joseph Beuys, the German-born painter-shepherd-shaman-educator-therapist who in the 20th century revolutionized art, the Leon Center opens Worlds: the transit of Fernando Varela.
There are not a few common elements in the way of perceiving art between the two artists. Each in a different way, but under very similar concepts and intentions: always communicating and kneading with extraordinary ingenuity to the human soul. This exhibition is proof.
How to explain dead rabbit art; Marcel Duchamp’s silence is overrated; I like America and America likes me were some of the language acts by which Beuys tried to undermine the common sense of custom, to displace the automatisms to which tradition subjects us and thus to return to the logical structure of human reason, through grazing of an aesthetic that would shake the floors and heavens of our channels of perception, of irony and paradox. This transformed contemporary art and the possibilities for the implementation of authentic folk and democratic pedagogy.
Like that of Beuys, Fernando Varela’s work speaks to us and invites us to travel through different worlds and survive, transcending them with a philosophical smile on our lips. Beuys goes from the inside out, reaching through the instincts to formulate a social critique. Varela does it from that social garden that invites us to intimacy and from that exterior of familiarity to reach the inner garden of wonders that inhabits us. In both cases, they are exclusively pedagogical and essentially spiritual works.
Fernando Varela’s work is a field of visual rhizomes suffering images of feelings opening into multiple thoughts. All in silence, like the shield of the silent word that gathers the things of the world and calls them to a cosmic council, digs into the soul and makes it sprout an ointment of honey, fat and felt. Yes, “like the moss on the stone, oh yes yes yes”.
This exhibition brings together, as pieces of the same puzzle, matter and spirit, the body, an exercise in movement where each piece unequivocally presents the ethical discourse of a deeply welcoming and friendly work.
Fernando Varela’s visual gestures seek to reconstruct the ecological meaning of our nature, unique and indivisible, not dual. Like a healer of wounds, his works have an extraordinary sonic palette that moves like an echo from nature and whose wind instruments herald peace in discreet songs of freedom, showing the majesty of the melancholy path of solitude.
The affinity that Fernando Varela shows for the impressionist and post-impressionist avant-gardes of music is not a coincidence that seeks modernity in breaking with tradition, making dissonances coherent and even necessary. Those Gabriel Faure, Eric Satie, Debussy who chose irregular structures, experimental exercises that, like Monet in painting or like Céline later in writing, gave life to art when in an academic lake it was losing oxygen culture.
The Eduardo León Jimenes Foundation and the León Center feel special gratitude for the accompaniment of Excel in the person of our friend and collaborator in art Alberto Cruz for his support, to the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana for always being there. Likewise, I would like to congratulate the Centro León team for their commitment and the professionalism with which they undertake each project. In particular, I would like to mention the educational program that accompanies this exhibition, as it has the inner intention to carry out an emotional and cognitive mediation between the artist and his work with the largest possible audience.
It is a cause for joy for us to be able to honor an artist of the universal caliber of Fernando Varela, whose work for our present is essential not only to understand but also to heal a certain turmoil of this incomplete prosperity that can conquer hope. This exhibition is like sewing a heart from a workshop, where you can only hear the beats of the heart, those that water the blood, those that pump life. Fernando Varela embroiders silence. And that is not easy to find. Yet, urgently needed in this world, today
Verse from the song “Back to seventeen” by Violetta Parra