Francisco Javier Bernal Pérez, born Camagüey, Cuba, 1959, early develops his artistic talent in contests and festivals. Studies at Camagüey Provincial Art School, the National Arts School and La Habana Superior Art Institute, achieving prices and honors. Attracted by Nature and its changes, discovers a new landscape vision in weather’s televised images, adding satellite imagery to his art. From 1983-1993, works at the Serigraphy Workshop of the Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales, later named Taller de Serigrafía Rene Portocarrero, becomes its director, meeting major Cuban and worldwide artists. He prints there his thesis for the Superior Art Institute, the triangular modular object-book Hacia el Huracán, achieving the highest score. Exhibits Temporáneo at the Cuban Academy of Sciences, awarded as Emeritus Member by the Cuban Meteorological Institute. Curates Cuban Art Exhibits in Poland, Czechoslovak and Germany. Highlighting two decades of Bernal’s artistic path: 1988-1987 prints works by Spanish artists at Taller Rene Portocarrero ll, Barcelona, Spain; exhibits Erosión at Cienfuegos and Erosión ll at the Castillo del Morro, decorating its Classical Music Hall; teaches at La Habana Superior Design Institute; is juror of competitions around Cuba; receives a grant for the Mallorca S’hort Workshops, where he prints and paints local themes exhibiting Erosió at Palma de Mallorca; sells to a New York collector and at Christie’s; directs Serie Gráfica de Madrid creating his own workshop manually printing artworks by key artists. 1998-2008 exhibits Orín, works painted in Spain, at La Acacia gallery, Cuba; expands his Madrid’s workshop as Bernal Estampa Artística S.L., opening Galería de Arte Cuba 513 promoting Cuban Art; travels in Spain, France and Italy enriching his Art; gives talks at Alcalá la Real, Fundación Miró de Mallorca and Fundación Gabarrón; donates pieces of his collection Estampa Cubana; participates in fairs and shows, like Abu Dabi 2008; experiments and updates his technology reaching higher quality editions.
In 2017, Bernal creates new artworks from concepts developed in the past: “Time is Gold” …“Often we think to retrieve the time lost, revive moments when we weren’t able to do what we wished. In this Series I put back views and ideas left in the making, to consolidate and merge formulas used in my first Series and shows. This long path started with my obsession for weather, the abstraction of satellite images, through storms, predictions, hurricanes, erosion and corrosion… Using diverse media with short budget and resources, some ideas never came through, others were left in planks with few printed sets or none. This scarcity transformed my work in a merger of a chaos of abstract backgrounds with coherent realistic objects (The Cause-hurricane & Effects-caused by it). Intentionally, I give the impression that the works are made by two artists who express in different way, uniting in one work such contrasting styles. Projected objects’ shadows on abstract background, create a sole visual setting. I developed sculpture similarly: destroyed ships, concrete, iron or wood structures, collected at the seaside taking significance as “main object” of installations with a base covered with sand and shadows of painted objects.” … “Abstraction and realism don’t interest me as an expression by themselves, but the fusion I create with them. Having all the media at reach, I consolidate the experience as an artwork on a constant fusion without borders of all the methods of expression, painting, engraving, sculpture and photography, united in one artwork. I rescue one object affected by time, ignored by passersby’s, invisible for all, transforming it in the artwork’s center of attention, closing a “magic” circle of recycling, resurrection and new purpose, to capture the viewer’s interest in the reencounter; each used object carries a known or secret history, I try to contribute to decipher it.”
I consider two main points about Francisco Bernal and his mastership dominating printing, oil painting and mixed media sculpture. The first one, his ability to control the permanence of time creating something as an eternal dimension for his viewers: “a unique forever”. The second, his versatility to manage and merge any media and material element on his artworks, and especially by reaching recycled objects, a variety of themes, and cleverly merging them into “his own mastered history of art”.
Mariavelia Savino, Art Curator