words of Ernesto Sierra
Taking interest in Jesus Lara Sotelo’s creative work is something like leaning over the crater of a volcano about to erupt: abysm, altitude, inferno with the promise of a paradise, darkness and detonation of colors, mystery and revelation, incognita and answer, jump to the light.
Those who know the already profuse work of Lara are aware that I am not exaggerating; that frightening and attractive image is born from his extraordinary and investigator spirit, from his incessant search for the reason of existence and the truth, the sense of life. Categories that once were understood sneak once again to give place to new investigations.
Colors, tones, shades, textures, techniques, materials, figurative or abstract vision, diverse thematic, several styles, have served to Lara in painting, sculpture, ceramics and photography to try to reflect the face of the human condition. But the spirit of the creator is insatiable and, for many years it also fights with the word, adding new ingredients to its thirst of answers and beauty.
Lara combines his taste for color and shapes with the battle of words. It was poetry the genre chosen for his literary incursion, ¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?, his written literary debut when he was about twenty years old. A heartbreaking text where Lara, now turned into a lyrical subject, is not able to dominate his emotions and writhes, he strips shreds of skin, shows the inners and without modesty or consideration, crashes—more than writes—every word against the paper. Poetic incontinency, youth deprive of privilege, verbal Baroque that contrasts against his new literary presentation: Mitología del extremo.
Here, Lara in another creative and surprising gesture choses aphorism as a way of expression. A sententious tone and a philosophical breath are the presentation letter for the new book. Almost twenty years between one text and the other, even though time could not be measured in chronological coordinates but vital ones. What intercedes between both of them is the vital experience and the creative force of Lara unleashed.
Al least that’s what I thought when he confesses to gather aphorisms from the time when he started to write poems. The date is not something to ignore, but invites to think in a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde way, the revelation of two sources or driving motors of Lara’s work, one that is born from darkness and unease, and another that sheds light and inner peace. The first one inspires these verses:
From the hurting gossip to
The fun fight, the sip of perfume
Drunk from fragrant slobbering
In the sandstone, the menses, in the
Vomit that bind in boards the smiling face, the notable nonsense.
Oh, in fluctuations! Oh, in zig zag the cold tallow cutting short!
I die, I really die, like in an orgy
My hand trembles, shakes, but…
Cheers. Another drink. The cardiac mass, ah, arrogance
throws its last punches, the euthanasia washes.
In the meantime, the other one suggests this thought as an aphorism:
To examine the illogical thoughts that make a man lose his self-control, so you will not incur in them. But, if you know how you examine yourself, you will know how you can fail. And if do know how to fail, you will make that whoever interests you will never have control over your acts.
(Exegesis del referéndum o vergel del castigo)
They are the two sides of a coin, two ways to face life and assume the creative process. Lara has achieved to master the metaphysic things that rule his condition, the one that sinks him and the one that elevates him for the benefit of art and thanks to it.
In Mitología del extremo he manages to hold his emotions and ghosts, and much beyond the content value of his judgments—which is quite high—it is allowed to play with the matter and the literary forms; he speaks and then contradicts himself, ridicules, winks, sentences and absolves. He combines with elegance the extension of the texts, themes and their density. The result is a deep and pleasant book, where it can be sensed the domain of the artist to the extent that he plays with styles, right in the moment he refuses any categorization.
Mitología del extremo gives us back a reflexive Lara, full of wisdom and sense of humor, touched by the peace of sincere creator, from the demiurge that emulates with faith, but from the humility of the man who has found the path of human existence.
If there is any hidden message in the book, it is summarized in one of his many aphorisms:
(…) the one who seeks to be renewed, by pressing need and not to pretend, does not stop in styles: he breaks them to shreds, reforms them and throws himself beyond the certainties, in short… he has to create or he starts to die spiritually…
An invitation to pursue what’s beautiful, to worship ideas, to remount the harshness of existence, to love, is this book by Jesus Lara Sotelo who will leave us hanging on the promise of a new publication, who knows under what shape, in that struggle with art and life.
Cubarte. The Portal of Cuban Culture.
May 4, 2010.