Ramon Alejandro

Cliff, 1983

Ramon Alejandro. "In 1960 things were looking black in Cuba and I was getting restless." These are the reasons the painter Ramon Alejandro gave for his departure into exile in a long letter in which he also described the enthusiasms and d oubts he had experienced in the course of his intellectual formation. Alejandro was born in Havana in 1943. On his mother's side there were three painters in the family-the grandfather, a great-grandfather, and an uncle all of whom had been active in Cu ba in the late eighteen hundreds and the early years of the present century.

Paintings by the grandfather and the uncle hung in the family parlor, and these, together with the uncle's conversation, provided the boy with his first notions of art. The uncle 's example was particularly significant, for most of the grandfather work consisted of copies of works in the Prado Museum that had been left behind in Spain. Given the situation described in Alejandro's above-mentioned letter, in 1960 his father entrus ted him to the care of an aunt in Buenos Aires. There he enrolled in the School of Fine Arts but soon transferred to the simile institution across the river in Montevideo, were he took courses in printmaking. Curious about other countries, the young man ventured into Brazil. He traveled all over the State of Minas Gerais, rich in colonial art of the baroque period, and in Sao Paulo he came upon a number of master pieces of European art. From Rio de Janeiro he went on to Barcelona and, after seeing all t hat Spain had to offer, in 1963 he settled down in Paris, where he resides to this day.

F rom 1968 to 1981 Alejandro had seven one-man shows at private galleries in Paris, Geneva, and Miami, the one in the last-mentioned city constituting his sole individual presentation in the United States to date. He has participated in more than three doz en art shows in Europe, in cities ranging from Brussels and Liege in Belgium, and Rome, Milan, Bologna, and Bolzano in Italy, to Belgrade, Skopje, and Novi Sad in Yugoslavia, in addition to one in Jerusalem. In 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971 he was invited to take part in the "Comparisons" Salons in Paris, and in 1971 and 1972 he exhibited at the May Salons in the same city He was a participant in the first exhibit of erotic art ever to be staged, presented in 1968 by the museums of Lund, Sweden, and Aarhus, D enmark, and in the show entitled "Erotic and Obscene Images" that was put on at the Images Gallery in Paris in 1974. Alejandro has contributed to a number of book exhibitions devoted to limited editions illustrated by artists of note.

Alejandro's recent work is characterized by poetic nostalgia. Amid landscapes bounded by distant cliffs, remote mountains, or calm seas there rise vast stone constructions which, like the mysterious monuments based in the Hindu principle of the mandala, have openings to each of the four points of the compass. They seem to be illustrations for works of science fiction or visions of a world of sheer illusion. Each element is defined in detail by the sure, skilled hand of a mature artist, co nstantly on the advance, whose creations exert a beguiling effect upon the viewer.