Leo d' Lázaro, Archaeologist of the Present
By Cecilia Crespo / Photos by Courtesy D´Lazaro
His creations capture and invite all viewers to reflection. One of those contemporary alchemists who transform paintings, installations, photos and sculptures into visible poetry, Leo D' Lazaro seems to leave a piece of his skin in each of them. That seems to be precisely the aim of this artist, born in Havana in 1965, who expresses his experiences, hopes and instincts from deep inside, as true tattoos of the soul.
This entire enigmatic universe becomes real in his studio El ojo del ciclón (The Eye of the Hurricane) on O'Reilly Street in Old Havana, where avid spectators find mundane myths turned into genuine artistic pieces.
We can also find some of his art as we walk around the city. For example, the three structures near the train station. In ferro concrete 4 metres wide and 9 high, Sin embargo, La espera and Ana exude, like the rest of his creations, the air of the old city that has inspired him from his beginnings.
"I am a fervent admirer of the restoration of the historic centre, a place I enjoy daily from the open doors of my space, creating with the social environment and the spirit of the restoration as memory revival. In that sense, I reflect on the way the stone makes itself felt victoriously in the city, covering everything as a permanent and mutant mirror of epochs, sunken or vertical in the old urban layer. Also, this smell of renewed antiquity oozing from the city is precisely what has made me think and visualize the present in this archaeological way through stone, when with each step I feel passers-by delving into it and leaving their new, already old, traces."
"I have made human interest my own through a series of inner beings that allow each recipient an active part of the show's space-time through the relation with a reality where each notch, each trace, line or touch of dirt, each recognizable or distorted shape, has as its final end the reconstruction of man's character from its inner archaeology."
Like an archaeologist unearthing clues, he explores our identities and correctly defines his work as "archaeology of the present", a sort of digging into our consciences and ideologies.
Through his creations the artist brings out the magical and apocryphal from reality. By revealing his fascination with that sort of effigy that expands its crudities to arrive at the search of psychosocial conflicts, he has made of his work a favourable space for the coexistence of all beings, where eroticism, present day human vicissitudes and reflections of city surroundings work as unmistakable edges.
In his work Leo encapsulates all manifestations of art, its thesis emerging from dissimilar materials, techniques and formats. With the passing years his work has gained in mystery and personality without losing conceptual and creative wealth. He is an artist who has taken an intimate style in which his imaginary world is constantly recreated with a virtuous and peculiar formal treatment.
That attitude shapes his modus operandi and assumes and acknowledges medieval and contemporary influences. It reshapes the fragmented compositional universe that nourishes itself from any impetus and offers us an authentic work to guide us through the incertitude interwoven in the enigmatic and perhaps paradoxical world of all things old and modern, tangible and unreachable, imaginary and evident, sacred and profane.