March 20 st - April 14 th, 2014
Milan, Italy

Pedro Fiol, catalogo, On my way, 2014

Chiara Gatti

In the history of Pedro Fiol, Cuba is not a biographical fact, but a state of mind.
It is common knowledge how in painting, the land of origin may leave deep roots in the heart and hands of artists, even though, life events, meetings and travels can sometimes mitigate, hide and mix them with other influences or temptations. A classic example is that of Alberto Giacometti, who always remained a man of the mountains, of the Bregaglia Valley and the most spiky and dark Alps, even when Paris welcomed and charmed him with sleepless nights and the languor of Montparnasse. The hard and bitter mountains which gave shape to his thoughts and figures thin like spears, sharp as stones, were in fact rooted in this head, indelible.
Just like today Pedro Fiol has photographed in his memory the ocean and tropical marshes, the archipelago and the labyrinths of hanging roots which, in the lagoons, draw wood and moss embroideries between the caves and waterfalls. A damp, briny, luxuriant universe, germinating and growing even in the heart of Milan, where Pedro has been working for some years, painting on canvas, evoking wild memories of his Latin past. The town has not bent his representation towards

street motifs and rhythms. The technique, the occasional castings, the drippings, the informal and instinctive traces, maybe invoke the ways of the underground culture, the stratification of materials, the recovery of ready-made scraps, the use of collage mixed with colour, always popular in the graffiti world, but everything embraces a sense of earth (his earth!), far away from the basement of the subway, from the noise of the skytrains.
In a nocturnal silence, lulled by soft and woodland sounds, here is how a poetic universe takes shape, an imaginary hovering between reality and dream, populated by mysterious figures, fleeting appearances that seem to emerge from the painting like nymphs from water. Angelic women, endowed with supernatural powers, have fluid and ethereal bodies and watery eyes, their faces soft with rain. The magical realism, typical of Latin American literature, meets here with exotic and spicy tones, the toasted ochre of the earth cracked by the sun, the crystalline greens of the glades full of lymphs and vapours. It is through realism that Pedro describes the arboreal paradise at the foot of a cordillera, cut between coastal cliffs and stretches of gelid sand. Magic is that which lingers, instead, around its totemic appearances with an hypnotic gaze, primitive idols, powerful and tragic at the same time. They represent Fiol’s memory, his past, his island. Ghosts, free and benign spirits which in some way recall the dreamlike and surreal atmospheres of Isabel Allende or, even more – to remain in Cuba – the Baroque flavour of the novels of Alejo Carpentier, gently mixed with the European classical culture which he embraced in later years.
As in a considerable amount of Latin literature, the painting of Pedro Fiol is indeed nourished by the contrast between fairytale elements and a sixth sense of anxious, dark, sometimes sharp storytelling, betrayed by the use of thick black outlines, pitch-dark shadows, dragging its muses into the darkness, broken by sudden moon flashes. Tension is in the air. It repels and attracts at the same time like “fear of the unknown”, Clara said, an otherworldly creature who came from the pages of Allende and from her “House of Spirits”. Indeed, it is the fear of the dark that generates the more powerful ghosts. And Pedro is well aware of this when he dreams about heads of oracles with thick lips floating lightly in the space like jelly fish. Their hair are tentacles or turbans or mangroves which have sprouted from the beach. Their bodies relax in the current, liquid and impalpable.

Anthropologists, thinking of shamanic practices and the feeling of lightness that the sorcerers perceive during the different stages of trance, have defined the image of the soul as “astral body” or “fluid body”, capable of moving away from the physical body during sleep to come into contact with a cosmic dimension. It is a projection of the mind, exactly a mental state, which favours an empathy between the apparent truth of things and the depth of unconsciousness.
In this sense, Pedro throws his heart beyond the hurdle, in the marshes of the Gulf with its muddy painting, to meet the astral bodies of his silent worship, the spirits that belong to him, who leave him breathless, who console him.

March 25 st - April 04 th, 2015
Location: Fabbrica del Vapore- Milano, Italy

Pedro Fiol, Milano una fetta di Mondo, 2015


March 20 st - April 14 th, 2014
Milan, Italy

Pedro Fiol, On myway, 2014

September 17 st - October 2 th, 2011
Location: Palazzo del Broletto- Pavia, Italy

5 to 19 February, 2014
Location: General Agency INA Assitalia- Milan, Italy