The Flight of the Shaman
To touch the insides of earth and life has not been strange for a young creator who started like a shaman in the field of plastics. His artistic career has been like a song of the destine planned by antique gods. Secretly he has kept complicity with earth, fire and air. That is the reason for his passion for Nature and natural beings. As a result, it is not strange that his present work bears in essence the concepts and forms developed by him in his twenty years old career. The concept lies mainly in the ambivalent meaning of the Latin American cultural processes. These have been raised to a universal significance in the humanistic condition of today’s man and his environment.
As a emotive explosion, these symbols remind us of this condition in De Pool’s work. Tree trunks, stones and other things become sensible folks on a base of cloth or on the physical room itself.
To visit his workshop in the hearth of Caracas means to meet works from different periods. They summarize both the study of religions and the dark and hell sites of a reality. When you look at them you perceive the coherence of his work. A palette with ochre and sepia colours with scratches of white, red and yellow. It is a feature of this coherence. Another way would be the materials he has always chosen. Each work is autonomous. They are different, an installation, a graphic, a relief are his ways of expressions.
From the beginning of the eighties, De Pool has shaken the Venezuelan cultural milieu with his great installations performed with burned trundles, ropes and fibbers. These installations have been made in open spaces as flags of lively. With his own experiences and through the study of several humanistic disciplines, De pool has found a way of coherence where a combination of cultures is a very important factor.
Feathers, dry leaves, stones, coal, have been successfully used. They are materials taken out of Nature, as the well known artistic critic Robert Guevara would say: a baroque and decanted Nature arising as a great metaphor of life itself. It is not strange that his talent points to a reality which is an unsolved problem. De Pool has explained his artistic creation through different ways.
All the elements show the presence of man and a cosmic Nature. He has followed several ways but always inside the concept of art.
It is not possible to recognize the themes at first sight. He expresses artistic feelings taken out of realities. For this reason he faces different aspects of a problem putting them into a single concept. He has not stopped working after his first installations. He has insisted in search of a creating liberty. Visible concepts have been to the service of invisible ones. In this direction he has aimed his efforts.
A Project to Fly. This is his latest series. He presents it to history as a humanistic manifestation of man. This is a flight within all of its forms : planes, souls, spirits, ghosts, tribal beliefs, but specially the conscience of being able to fly. This set of pieces is represented by collages in which stones, feathers, dissected birds and other elements like flight maps, Seville tiles, fabrics with Japanese and Indian designs give form to a complex plastic structure made on a canvas surface. All these things loose their individual character and become a symbol of a cosmic humanity. His compositions are a combination of abstract and figurative forms. A little bird, its feathers, some stones become collages when they are put together on the base surface.
It is very important for this artist to give a large dimension to his work. It does not remain within limits but, as fills Project of Flight says, it goes up to all the possibilities that are available today and go into the future. The Flight is a thought, a dream which involves the past and the present as a symbol of our days. Rafael De Pool with his collages and relieves opens the gates of the new century. There is a universal identity in his art which is in accordance with today’s global liniments.
Bélgica Rodríguez Caracas, June 1998
Translation by Carlos Rivero August 2004.