Harold Lopez Muñoz (Havana, 1977)
Lopez, who is widely viewed as one of the brightest young talents on the island today, describes his style as ‘pop-expressionist’, drawn from a wide gamut of artistic influences from the 19th century Impressionists, to the Expressionists of the early 20th century and the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, as well as artists like Francis Bacon, David Hockney, and Lucien Freud. He also sites fashion, graphic design and film as elements informing his work.
Lopez explains that in his most recent series of paintings represented by his work in Presente! he has constructed an urban portrait of Havana inhabited by figures he discovered by roaming its streets. In this series, Discurso Fragmentado (Fragmented speech), he superimposes Cuban figures from everyday street scenes on fragments of slogans from murals that are scattered throughout the city. In some of the works only one letter from slogans like ‘Revolucion’ or ‘Patria’ appear as a backdrop to the composition. According to Lopez, they represent the ideas or unfinished words “of our written history, while the passers-by represent the daily experience.”
In his work, Lopez does not aim to depict precise actions. Rather he seeks, he says, “to create an atmosphere of constant uncertainty, transmitting states of mind rather than easily identifiable events.” Presenting life size figures that display his command of vivid colours and his technical excellence as a painter, the artist proposes that the viewer draws on their own experience to interpret the mediations between history and their daily life. These are universal themes, he says, yet Lopez chooses to remain in Havana to create his art. “Havana is a good place to be an artist,” he comments. “Cuba is a socially atypical country and the artist nurtures himself on the conflicts and matters that need to be solved.”
Lopez graduated in 1998 and has exhibited extensively in both solo and collective shows, amongst elsewhere, in Canada, Columbia, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland and his work is held in collections in most of those countries. He has won multiple awards including in 2008, the I Premio de Pintura, Salón Habana and in 2007, the Gran Premio de Pintura, Salón Habana.