In the work of Pedro Roberto Valdivia Durán: theatricality and ceramic art (+ Photos)

By Lázaro David Najarro Pujol

Apr, 2021.- Pedro Roberto Valdivia Durán (Camagüey 1963) is a theater actor (he currently belongs to the Guiñol de Camagüey), who dedicates his free time, since the 1980s, to modeling ceramic pieces, some of them exhibited at international exhibitions in Europe and America.

At that stage he had returned from the National School of Art Instructors in the specialties of direction, acting and theater design in Havana, which is currently the University of the Arts.

«There is a close relationship between theater and ceramics. Theatricality and scenographic elements are closely linked to ceramic art, ”he considered.

In addition, he said, the city is very central as a scenographic element in a play that can be achieved with ceramic supports, specifically colonial Camagüey.

«I am a Camagüey endorsement and I like to interpret my city in the theater and honor it through ceramics. I like to reflect the theatricality through the masks. In all the pieces that I cast I try to find an approach to the theater. The theater is my first home and ceramics my second home artistically speaking.

Meanwhile, the art critic Pavel Alejandro Barrios, in the words to the catalog of the exhibition Personaje de ciudad (2011), considered that Valdivia «makes a staging with works as actors in the current urban plot. Valdivia goes to the characters of the moment, or rather to the transformations and visions of the moment of characters characteristic of our sociocultural context ».

Meanwhile, the researcher and art critic Marco Antonio Tamames gave his opinion at the opening of the personal exhibition Reliquias. Collection No. 3, in the context of the collateral sample of the V Edition of the Festival de las Brujas ACAALARRE 2008 that Valdivia “reveals himself as one of those artisans whose ceramic work ends up loaded with theatricality, testimony to his fidelity in one way or another of assuming art.

If in the panel he feels a disturbing need to overflow with imagination the classical masters and the recontextualization of his works, in the clay he pursues originality. For this creator, theater and crafts are complemented not only with magic, but also with measure, they can share the same space without one or the other fighting in search of unnecessary prominence ”.

For Pedro Roberto Valdivia Durán, then an actor and assistant of ceramics, the Cuban Fund for Cultural Goods in Camagüey opened its doors for him, together with his teacher, to model 30 large-format amphorae destined for the tourist center of Tayabito, east of the City of the Tinajones.

Due to the quality of his work in the ceramic demonstration in 1996 he joined the Cuban Association of Artisan Artists (ACAA). He considers the plastic artist Oscar Rodríguez Laseria as his great teacher. “To him I owe everything I have learned in this event, to my interest in researching about ceramics,” he thanked him.

In October 2006, Oscar Rodríguez wrote the words to the catalog of the personal exhibition De la Vigía a San Miguelito by his disciple: «In some way I feel responsible for what (Valdivia) does, since we have lived together for ten years of work , eight hundred ideas and about one hundred thousand affections; Of course, I cannot refer to some adjectives out of empathy, it is rather that I know and recognize his integrity of work and sensitivity to what he expresses in his work, Valdo (Valdivia), knows that «Healthy Art» is artisan, reason is well agreed on his part that he sees himself forgetting the pretentious ambitions of being an “artist” and convinced of being human “.

Rodríguez continued: «In fact he is an artist, he shows it, now he refers us to the dreams of a city without inhabitants, contained and enclosed in the images of its vessels full of deaf sounds that can only be heard in the intimacy of its interior, revealing the architecture that speaks for itself with the words of walls and ceilings where you can only hear a rain of clay and the thunder of crafts ».

When referring to his first masters of ceramics, he appreciated that they did not paint the ceramic pieces cold, “they painted them before being burned in the kiln. The technique that I like the most is that of encobes, which is based on clay slip or ceramic paste and metallic oxide, which are what give the color. You finish the color and the piece and apply that pigment, let it dry and put the piece in the oven. The satin is generated (with little gloss or matte without gloss. But there are enamels that give the works shine, although sometimes it is necessary to take the piece to the oven on more than one occasion ”.

Consider the exhibition Time in Ruin? (2015), as one of its main samples.

Forged with the García Workshop, a collective project in which everyone is the protagonist. «The pieces are not individual. The research is carried out, the work is conceived and we all participate, in some way, in the elaboration, painting and burning. We work as a team. What is developed in the workshop is reconciled with all its members ».

The project ¿El tiempo en Ruinas? recreates ancient pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures on ceramic surfaces, a proposal by Taller García and the artist Pedro Roberto Valdivia.

It consisted of more than 60 pieces, an interpretation or reconceptualization of the symbol extracted from the natal context.

The visual insinuation was made at the Midas Gallery, of the Cuban Association of Artisan Artists, in Camagüey, about 570 kilometers east of Havana.

The objective was to put to the interpretation of the spectators if time is “a maker of ruins or if it is the ruins, with their majestic presence, which bear witness to the silent and crouched flow of temporality.”

The artisan Eduardo García, director of the Workshop, explained that different ceramic techniques were observed in the initiative and highlighted the representative work of the project a pyramid of aluminum and papier-mâché (an ancient artisan technique, originating in China, India and Persia) , 2.34 centimeters high and 2.30 centimeters wide.

The intentional fragmentation of some of the pieces, as well as the imposition of certain aged textures, bear witness to the marked symbolism displayed by the set of masks and vessels “guarded by imposing totemic figures.”

Modern constructions continue to appear but pre-Columbian Mesoamerican ruins are always present in time, and man tries to insert that culture into contemporary existence.

The García Workshop is linked to a Matanzas project that is organized every two years by the Arte del Fuego Ceramic Biennial in which they participate.

Pedro Roberto Valdivia Durán had the satisfaction of participating in the International Ceramics Symposium organized by the plastic artist Oscar Rodríguez Laseria and the Salón del Barro y el Fuego event, sponsored by the Cuban Association of Artisan Artists.

He considers San Miguelito, in the west center of the city of Camagüey, as the quintessential potter’s neighborhood in all of Cuba. «More important than Bejucal, in Havana and than any potter settlement in the country. In this place any type of ceramic is made, from a brick, rasilla, earthenware to a large-format Camagüey jar. In San Miguelito, knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation ».

He also explained that another of the outstanding exhibitions for him in which he has participated is: Luces de la Ciudad in three editions in which he links the luminaire through lamps decorated with colonial facades, both floor, wall, table and table lamps. ceiling. “The city, the colonial roofs, the smithy, the columns, the stained glass windows and everything that contains the colonial architecture that is quite eclectic is always present in my pieces” is always present.

He emphasized in the project City Characters, in which he recreated bohemian figures from Camagüey, among which he mentioned Miguel Escalona, ​​the founding musician of Nueva Trova in Cuba, who placed him sitting in a city park, guitar in hands and with a bottle of rum by his side.

For the art critic Pavel Alejandro Barrios, in the project city characters, the creator distinguishes by an artistic-traditional ceramics: «In this definition the protagonist is a character or a typical picture of a given context. The caricature representation includes particularities that ironic the subject and the social framework and that are in full correspondence with the actuality to which it is alluded ». (Photos by the author).(Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez)


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