words of Pedro Oscar Godínez
Perhaps to begin these brief, very brief defining explanations about Jesus Lara’s poetics included in his latest work Mitología del extremo, it should be asked again and again: what is or what is not that corpus of thoughts, keen reflections, refined and sharp, philosophical, ethical or aesthetic judgments or reasoning, depending on the nature of them, of the so called “aphorism”?
For this it be might be also worth remembering aphorisms found perhaps their highest exponents in the thought of Hippocrates and the Spartan general Themistocles, the legendary hero of the battles of Salomina and Marathon against the Persian Xerxes, from whom is very well known, although maybe not so much at present—though it should to be, according to the signs of these apocalyptic times of wars and catastrophes—the dogmatic phrase: “Strike me if you like, but also listen”. And they are also found in the myth building or fable writing of Aesop and Samaniego, that when taking advantage of these vigorous and accurate linguistic-lexical and literary structures of marked moralizing content, they extolled or praised, condemned and critically judged attitudes, vices and the flaws of men, government systems, politics and even entire societies, all this done by teaching, or rather pointing to the cult of virtue and kindness and the exercise of what is right and true as behavioral code, as a rule or a method or as a simple guide.
The usually serious and doctrinal theme of these aphorisms or maxims invites us to pause in their statements, urging us once more to the deeper analysis of the issues, approaches, ideas or themes they carry.
Actually, the lyrical-philosophical Lara that appears in them brings us closer to his most hidden ideas, ontological, psychological, moral and social worries and concerns, giving them or rather enlightening us with the wisdom in them, so often extracted from anguishing and painful personal experiences, as in the aforementioned quote from Themistocles, like in this case the author of these aphorisms lets us begin to see in his preface words, as a simple confession.
Saying, riddle or proverb, sentence, maximum, thought or apothegm, these aphorisms—literature also ultimately—offer us an interesting sample or set of judgments and findings or assessments on different aspects of the complex reality, of life in general and the world in which we dwell and live, we focused for a single pupil who does not miss the smallest detail or fragment which has been the subject of attention or analysis.
But what really calls our interest even more is perhaps the concision and power of synthesis these compositions are armed, constructed, and made of, in which the economy of resources and the precision of the language used to define topics or simply convey thoughts, feelings and moods or intellectual lucubration on certain areas of reality is, without doubt, the key aspect that builds or maintains them.
In this sense it is good to remember that the aphorism, beyond its genesis itself, has, in relation to its essential characteristics of structure and content, many points of contact or coincidence with other formations that are similar, such as the handy epigram, thanks to the one that gave international renown to Chilean Nicanor Parra, the psalm or chant the literary outline of the Bible is made of, like the psalms of David, just to cite one example, the haiku of the Japanese, the Rubáiyát or quartets with which the great Persian philosopher, astrologer, mathematician and physicist Omar Khayyam and the mystic Turkish poet Yunus Emre wrote their works almost a millennium ago, as well as other equivalent variants such as couplet, able to catch in just two verses or lines a fine concept or idea in which the use of ellipsis, such as a technical or mandatory resource, clears the path to perfection, only given by the most pristine or absolute clarity and transparency in expression.
Regarding the book: if in his complete plastic work before this time, broken off in dissimilar aspects or creative directions as visual arts are in general, Jesus Lara surprises us transmitting his amazing moments and terrors, his passions and ideo-aesthetic emotions, this time, here and now, in this other disciplinary side of him, with Mitología del extremo, he gives us precisely the other end of his restless, almost hyperkinetic personality, the other half his other deeper self is made of, including everything in the depths of his privacy.
Clearly that is not the debut of Lara, the writer, because he had given us before his collection of poems Paradoja: Capitulo al extasis, Zen sin Sade, ¿Llagas inéditas o enojo insomne?, Cuarto paso and ¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?. The first one was published in October, 2008, which allowed us to take a peek, through a chink of poetry, perhaps to the less visible part of his heart, to the closed area or tight space inhabited only by his dreams, illusions, hopes, anxieties, fears, sorrows and joys. So, without the fear of falling on the slippery ground of hyperbole and beyond simple praising for the sake of praising, I can say that the lovers of Jesus Lara’s visual work will have from now, with the appearance of Mitología del extremo, the magnificent opportunity to learn more about the artist-writer, go into the labyrinth of his thoughts, approaches, views, proposals, concepts, reviews, denials and affirmations on certain aspects of what happens around us and within ourselves, always on the subjective basis of his experiences, with which, logically, we can agree on accepting them as our own and incorporating them into our personal arsenal, or, on the contrary, offering some resistance, setting with them an enriching discussion or controversy tête a tête.
Moreover, the invitation to read and appreciate Mitología del extremo is already done and the book keeps the virginity of its pages for its readers.
Havana, April 16-21, 2010