CubaPLUS Magazine

Leandro Mompié and the craft of constructing forms

By: Lázaro Gerardo Valdivia Herrero, Photos: Courtesy of the artist
Leandro Mompié and the craft of constructing forms

A native of the Isle of Youth, although a Havana native by adoption, Leandro Mompié does not disguise his joy when he confesses to feeling Cuban above all, an everlasting status without which his visual work would be permeated by that meaninglessness that only forms in creations with no earthly roots. But his prolific artistic career, developed around painting, sculpture, ceramics, installation and scenic and visual communication design, testifies not only to the versatility of this creator of the most unique forms, but also to the constant commitment to use pigments and supports to translate all that his homeland gives him in terms of customs, yearning, conflicts and satisfaction.
Leandro Mompié and the craft of constructing forms
A 2015 graduate of the San Alejandro National Academy of Fine Arts (specialising in Sculpture and Drawing), Leandro Mompié has seven personal exhibitions to his credit and has participated in over thirty group exhibitions, events and collaborative projects. Among them is the recently concluded 14th Havana Biennial (2022), where his sculpture Capitulación de Madre Coraje formed part of the curatorial project Detrás del Muro (Behind the Wall), recreated with the visual artist Antonio López Vega, with whom he has formed the creative partnership Paréntesis.

Approaching his pictorial work is a feast for the senses, as his work is as rigorous and detailed as it is suggestive. Undoubtedly, color emerges as the favorite expressive resource in his iconographies, images produced from the most varied conventions, techniques, genres and formats: oil and acrylic on canvas or cardboard, intimate portraits of people, real and imagined, abstraction in its purest state, as well as the alternation of the brush and the palette knife as working instruments. Behind each painting there will always be a story, a legend or simply a personal experience; it is the spell that accompanies art and helps us see ourselves as a single race beyond our individualities. In the reflexive act of communicating through mixing images, those elements inherent to human nature itself converge: feelings, instincts, fears, beliefs, shared joys and inevitable bifurcations.

Small, medium and large format sculpture is another of the mainstays of Leandro Mompié’s work. The mixture of materials used reflects that inescapable need to experiment, to delve into the depths of the substrates and extract the best ways to construct forms that are constantly torn between figuration and abstraction. Bronze and iron, marble, clay and wood are cast, moulded or sculpted from physical or mental sketches that become starting points. The creative action once initiated can take different paths, sometimes contrary to the original conception, but the sense of praxis as a source of learning will always be latent.

A third vertex in the work of this creator could be seen as the virtual dimension associated with new technologies, a scenario where scenographic design and visual communication also converge.

Supported by 3D modeling (a process of threedimensional representation through the use of specialized software), the artist frees his skills and configures a whole parallel universe of signs, areas, volumes, objects and individuals, as a prelude to that other, real, extension - in which each entity programmed from a computer is responsible for its true revelation. This procedure has enabled him to collaborate with the world of the performing arts, specifically with set design, a discipline he is currently studying at the Faculty of Theatrical Art of the University of the Arts of Cuba (ISA), while also highlighting the performance of sketches within the curatorial planning of upcoming exhibitions.
Leandro Mompié and the craft of constructing forms
Antropología Industrial, a singular project soon to be exhibiting at the Teodoro Ramos Gallery (Havana), is precisely one of the exhibition initiatives previously shaped thanks to digital modeling. About the objectives and precepts handled in it, the artist told CubaPLUS Magazine that, relying on anthropological science, he tries to &analyze the physical aspects and the social and cultural manifestations of human communities," aiming to &give a nod to evolution" and perceiving humans as physical, temporal and finite beings &in whom a spiritual soul dwells."

Antropología Industrial is initially made up of four canvases and a group of sculptures, although it is possible that new two-dimensional pieces may be incorporated in which the human anatomy (specifically the torso) is recreated intentionally sectioned.

In the midst of artistic development and faced with the risk of indiscriminate assimilation of &recycled" aesthetic patterns, Leandro Mompié has no hesitation in opting for a work that is genuine and at the same time universal in its foundation.

For him, constructing forms is, more than the duty of his profession, a life’s work without which nothing would make sense. After all, he says, &representing volumes in a very subjective way has become part of my daily life."


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