Lune Haute, from Pleni Luna
25 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.
Pencil signed and numbered
About the work:
“My painting is an act of decolonization, not in a physical sense, but in a mental one” the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam stated in 1980.
Lam belonged to an extraordinary generation of artists who examined the place of the individual within twentieth-century society, marked by political conflict and the legacy of colonialism. His work was revolutionary in defying cultural hierarchies and classifications through its emphasis on Afro-Caribbean culture. He was part of the surrealist movement, which encompassed visual and written art forms exploring the creative potential of the unconscious mind.
In his later years Lam was a prolific printmaker, often collaborating with poets who were longstanding friends. This week’s Work of the Week! WOW! is the Lune Haute, from Pleni Luna, inspired by poet Jose Pierre’s poem Lune Haute.
From his transatlantic experiences, Lam derives elements of Cubism, Surrealism, the fantastic images from Caribbean voodoo, African sculpture, and images of Santeria. These are all features which can be seen in his Lune Haute.
Lune Haute reflects Lam’s genius with line and shape, evocative of his friend Picasso’s strong influence on his work. This work explores the transformation of the human figure into a fantastic entity, a powerful psychological tension, reflective of twentieth century socio-geo-political tensions.
Lam combined his influences and created a unique style, characterized by the prominence of hybrid figures. He sought to portray and revive the Afro-Cuban spirit and culture by overlapping the numerous styles that he encountered through his extensive travels, all blended in a Surrealist atmosphere, as an act of decolonization.