Metaphors of the body: Sergio Roque’s proposal at the Biennial

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Metaphors of the body: Sergio Roque’s proposal at the Biennial
Fecha de publicación: 
9 May 2019
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“Metáforas del cuerpo” (Metaphors of the Body) is the title of the exhibition with which outstanding plastic arts artist Sergio Roque inserts himself into the 13th Havana Biennial, from his newly opened study at José White Concert Hall, in Matanzas.

Roque does not need to complicate himself, he is an artist who sums up the whole concept among his well-drawn lines. Roque watches and reinvents an imperfect femininity, far from standards, and returns it reinvented, with all the lights of art; he revisits women with creative inspiration and energy.

With full harmony I can quote a friend of his and teacher for me, prominent poet, writer and editor from Matanzas, Alfredo Zaldívar, who wrote the note for the catalog with which Roque inserts himself into the framework of the 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas:

“Sergio Roque Ruano is a man gifted for art. Art is not a copy of reality, it is the recreation of reality. His beauty codes are his. He has achieved a poetics, the top inspiration of an artist. Roque does not paint women, he does not paint fatties (Botero did paint primitive fat women; Roque does not paint stylized swan-necked women (those were painted by Modigliani. Roque follows classics, but subverts them. Sergio Roque paints metaphors of the female body). The sensual thing is there, but the sensorial one vibrates, is evident. The human essence of his figures is maternal. They do not seem to have left the maternal womb. They still float in the amniotic fluid. The umbilical cordon hasn’t been cut. His creatures are to be born”.

The exhibition covers the varied formats and aids, which Roque has used to make his work. It shows us these vases, those wall clocks, with the same affection with which he watches the big canvas at the entrance to the hall, or the polychrome pottery pieces. And the fact is that he does not feel self-conscious that his art serves, decorates; the word utilitarian does not frighten him, does not diminish him: “I am also an artisan”, he states.


Matanzas embraced him as a son and he returned the White Hall (the former Lyceum of the city) back to it, where, at last, he has deservedly set up his study. Nowadays, it is one those spaces that remain open to the Havana Biennial (which is Cuba’s already). However, there, at that site in Matanzas, he will always listen to danzones from his native Camagüey, this time, through a beautiful triple disc, which he has entitled “Trinajones”, and where he turns to that typical object from Camagüey to fill it with his bodies that shrink or embrace, contort and interweave or combine themselves to make the metaphor.

Roque is not a man of few words, I can assure that, but his work absorbs him. He mounts, squares a space, finishes a piece and thus, like a little ant that carries a dream, looks at you and says: “Imagine, very happy, we lacked this, because it was in the restoration project of the Hall from the start and finally we manage to open it. What can I tell you? The White Hall is my house too, I am very pleased to work and exhibit here”.

Sergio Roque directed the restoration and remodeling of José White Concert Hall, former Lyceum of Matanzas, which currently houses his study-gallery, an initiative that provides the property with its long-standing relationship with all art manifestations and where “We will not only invite Roque, he explains, but also other artists so they exhibit their work”, he says.

He is a professor, Master in Fine Arts, painter, sculptor, potter, restorer and excellent draftsman; he’s also president of the Plastic Arts Association of the UNEAC (National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists) in Matanzas and authentic, last and subjective but not least: Sergio Roque is unique. Of course: his painting resembles his pottery and his cardboards his murals. He changes the aid, but not the dedication with which he takes them over nor the signature he stamps on every piece. It is possible to notice it in these “Metaphors…..” with which, he awaits us at his study open to the Biennial nowadays.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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