b. 1943, Havana. Resides in Paris.
A self-taught artist, in 1960 Alejandro went into voluntary exile in search of the treasures of European art. After stays in Argentina and Brazil, he finally arrived in Paris. In the City of Light he struck a close friendship with Cuban poet and novelist Severo Sarduy, cinematographer Néstor Almendros, and painters Jorge Camacho, Roberto García York, Gina Pellón, and Joaquín Ferrer. He experimented at first with drawing and engraving, and since 1966 with painting—inspiring an essay by French critic Roland Barthes, a well-respected authority in cultural matters.
A subtle draughtsman with a powerful imagination, Alejandro creates works that showcase a distinctive personality, as far from European art trends as it is from the coordinates of the maps of Cuban art.
Torre de piedra (Tower of Stone, 1979) belongs to a series created in the 1970s, which evidences the spirit of surrealism, ever-present in Cuban art throughout the 20th century. Alejandro stays away from Pop Art, narrative figuration, and hyperrealism—the art trends of that moment—to focus instead on the “demons” of imagination. Hence the creation of virtual spaces, represented in a realistic, three-dimensional way, but alien to any rational logic. These are brutalist architectures, solid masses sprouting mechanical, industrial elements, without a hint of human presence; contexts that stay silent, desolated, like archeological vestiges. Alejandro models them in a paradoxically meticulous fashion, bringing to mind the drawings of Mayan pyramids made by travelling artists towards the end of the 19th century.
—Abelardo G. Mena Chicuri