THE IMPROPER SQUARE
by Rafael Almanza
Boldest attempts have multiplied since Barnet Newman proposed to redefine the act of the painting’s spectator. Roger Toledo is betting on a painting that is not only satisfied with being seen, it also has to be lived and contemplated with and beyond it. Thus, the centuries-old practice of copying paintings at the museum turns into an apprenticeship of the creation, and in creation from the apprenticeship. However, these works created from paintings belonging to the Cuban collection at the Fine Arts Museum shouldn’t be considered independent abstractions of the chosen piece, which is valid but impoverishes their meaning. Its highest quality resides in the act of dialoguing with the painting hanging on the wall, and that we may or may not remember or have never seen. In every creative process, there is a personal experience of the creator that emerges in the work and another that remains as the artist’s heritage, non-transferable. The narcissism of the contemporary artist is often recreated in this submerged area, which is often not luminous, detached from the act of communication. But the true artist always surrenders even if he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he keeps the best for himself or wants to draw our attention to that impenetrable exclusivity. A discernible gain is verified in these squares: it captures the use of color in the original paintings, including the brushstroke technique. While going beyond the reconstruction of the original tonal atmosphere, which certainly evokes them: the colors of the paintings, mostly figurative and even traditional, are deconstructed, amplified and varied in a square made up of twenty five grids of twenty four centimeters each. Here is a rare cognitive scene. The square within the square, but the odd number within the even: the square setting the space and the number throwing it to infinity. This young artist has been dealing for years with the properties of the space interpreted by mathematics, aware that this science of structure allows us to see what needs to be seen, that magnificence of the obvious the art has always shown and acknowledged: capable then to pay tribute to discipline and order from freedom and true. And this fixation in an ever-changing form, never rigid, even blurred or precarious, bestows on the piece the undulating and lively unity of a subject with variations: the light inhabiting the space through color. The result is therefore far from the alleged coldness of science. A playful warmth runs through the series, a fresh joy of having respectfully and lovingly taking over what belongs to it, heir to the physical and intellectual light of the universal homeland, from the authority of the square as evidence of justice.