Rafael San Juan



Many memories come to my mind when facing the work of this young master. One of them alludes to the transportation of Michaelangelo’s monumental sculpture David through the streets of Florence. This feat is told by Manuel Mujica Lainez in his book Bomarzo, in which he explains that «for four days the marble giant covered the distance that separated the maestro’s workshop in the Square of the Lordship; forty men pulled it along the narrow streets, and the scene is visually connected with other very old ones, such as that of the Trojan horse». The original David has its place today in the public square. Another memorable moment refers to Leonardo da Vinci and his clay model of the horse in the equestrian statue of Francisco Sforza, which was completely destroyed by the troops of Louis XII of France when used as target for their shooting trainings. With a technique that recalls those Renaissance geniuses, Rafael San Juan has studied each part of the human body until penetrating the marvelous mechanics of its nature. Thus, like few artists from his generation, he has succeeded in finding the hidden reasons of life or the magic strings of the soul. More than gathering fragments, this young master knows how to make spaces cease to be a virtual reality and emerge in the immanence of things. As if he had found the philosophical stone, by means of images and structures he succeeds in recreating –more than in reproducing– that truth that the human being supposes in midst of the Universe. When learning of his huge projects, I dreamt that Havana might have the privilege of some monumental work of his, looking at the core of the bay, where the image of this city seems to escape between our fingers, wrapped in the mystery of its century-old village existence. That such a sculpture would have a beautiful face, as the one sculpted in statuary marble by Giuseppe Gaggini to symbolize the daughter of Indian chief Habaguanex, with an adorable Greek profile magically crowned with feathers. That this face would be looking at the infinite, swelling with Cuban identity, and that it would be the legacy of Rafael San Juan to this land of his where his genius, worthy of universal art, crystallized. May these words remain as an expression of gratitude, more than an exordium for the excellence of his work.