The Human Figure in the Work of Sagols
By Graciela Guzmán
The human figure occupies top place in the work of young Cuban painter Vladimir León Sagols, who recently enchanted Havana with his exhibition Evas (Eves), featuring women in an ordinary environment, as if surprised in their intimate world.
In 1988, Sagols completed his studies of engraving in the San Alejandro National Academy of Fine Art. A hundred-year-old institution in the Cuban capital, San Alejandro has seen the great artists of this Caribbean country pass through its halls as students or teachers.
Sagols says he feels captivated by the art of engraving on wood, metal and stone, but that he has been unable to practice it because it needs many tools and space with he hasn’t been able to find since he graduated from San Alejandro. For this reason, right after graduating, he began his journey into painting, which he investigated in full detail through much study and practice.
A lover of graphics and drawing cartoon characters – which he mastered as a child – in 2002 Sagols began to present his work in solo exhibitions in various galleries in Havana. The most recent took place this year in Old Havana’s Basilica Menor del Convento San Francisco de Asís (Basilica of the St. Francis of Assisi Convent).
In his pictorial work, which is strongly influenced by his love of engraving, the artist shows a marked preference for black, white and grey tones. From the time he began eliminating colours, he started using texture more in his paintings as he progressed in this everyday task.
In an interview with Cubaplus, Sagols admits his partiality for graphics, high contrast and drawing, techniques he combines in his chromium-plated fabrics and Bristol board. In these works, the figure of the woman is relevant, together with children and men.
His intention is to show the human being as is. He says that in the works making up the series Evas, his goal was to unreservedly show the person, halting her in simple actions that don’t signify anything special and which aren’t made erotic through nudity or semi-nudity.
At the moment, the 36-year-old artist is beginning to experiment with new forms, following what his paintbrush dictates, taking advantage of an escaping line, a colour that might react with another to give it the tone he wants… “All the time,” he affirms, “I’m more in the know of these accidents.”
He declares that what he least wants is to repeat himself, so that his next paintings will have another shape and texture for delighting his admirers.