Roberto Fabelo /   José Roberto Fabelo Pérez

Cuba 1950

Installation, Painting

Roberto Fabelo
José Roberto Fabelo Pérez
January 13, 2015

Roberto Fabelo is a widely known Cuban painter, illustrator and sculptor, and one of the most respected premier contemporary artists from Cuba. He is perhaps best known for his captivating artworks that depict nude woman with bird-like features, such as beaks and wings. Fabelo was born in 1950, Camagüey, Cuba and is a member of “the generation of sure hope” whose art was reinvigorated by the creative environment of the 1980s.

A printmaker and an illustrator of many books, including those of Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, and a creator of assemblages and installations, Fabelo received an award at the First Havana Biennial for Fragmentos vitales (Vital Fragments, 1984), a piece consisting of drawings done on irregularly cut Kraft paper and glued directly to the wall. Since then, his work has attained broader recognition from the art community in Cuba and abroad. As he cites, his influences are rooted in European art history: “Two great Spanish masters, Velázquez and Goya.” In contrast to compatriots like Rubén Alpízar or Reinerio Tamayo, who parody and subvert all references to the European canon, Fabelo’s emphatically modern consciousness is anchored in the trinity of style, authorship, and originality, notions that were reintroduced into contemporary Cuban art in the last decade by a revived interest in aesthetics and in traditional painting genres.

Fabelo started doing watercolors in 1988 as a minor pursuit, but they have since assumed a more definite place in his artistic practice. With his increasing mastery of watercolor technique and exploration of larger formats, he has become the demiurge, or divine creator, of a world of his own. In it, he mixes Jonathan Swift’s acid humor, nocturnal denizens of the Moulin Rouge as immortalized by Toulouse-Lautrec, and the style of Spanish Baroque painting. Those cultural cross-currents give rise to a human comedy played out in a theatrical space. He juxtaposes the naturalistic depiction of characters with their staged and compact placement on a sofa or behind theatrical curtains. His deft hand captures each character in a defining gesture or attitude, and clothes him or her in a way that reveals the individual’s own psychology. The realistic appearance of those beings suggests that the artist is like a hunter of faces, stalking his prey in the corners of Havana. But this humanity, genetically tainted by tropical animals and fruits, deities, shy mermaids, feathered heads, is a faithful reflection of his imagination. Clustered on a sofa or gathered around props in an empty theater, his characters wait in awe for an event that will never happen. They seldom look at or talk to each other, and even the dogs share the same baleful glare as their owners. The juicy, Rubenesque nudes do not inspire lust or competition, but only add to the strangeness of the situation.

Fabelo has been awarded with numerous awards, both national and international, and his remarkable pieces of art have been shown in more than 40 solo, and over 500 group shows, all around the world, including countries such as Switzerland, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2009Sobrevivientes (Instalación) X Bienal de La HabanaMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, CubaGroup
2008PintaThe Modern And Contemporary Latin American Art Fair, New York, USAGroup
2008UntitledFeria Internacional de Arte de Shanghái, ChinaGroup
2008Del trazo al volumeGalería Habana, La Habana, CubaGroup
2008Puro arteCasa América, Madrid, EspañaGroup
2007Confluencias inside, Arte Cubano CotemporáneoMuseo José Luís Cuevas, MéxicoGroup
2007UntitledFeria de ARCO, Madrid, EspañaGroup
2007Once artistas cubanosCentre Culturel Le Manoir, Ginebra, SuizaGroup
2006UntitledGalería Suyú, La Habana, CubaSolo
2006Manual de instrucciones, Colateral, IX Bienal de La HabanaConvento de Santa Clara, La Habana, CubaGroup
2006UntitledFeria de ARCO, Madrid, España,Group
2006Mundos, (Esculturas), IX Bienal de La HabanaMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Habana, Cuba,Group
2005MundosMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, CubaSolo
2005Mascaras, simulacros, espejismos, disfracesGaleria Luis de Soto, Facultad de Artes y Letras, Universidad de la Habana, Havana, CubaSolo
2005Latin American Invitational 2005, ArtSpaceVirginia Miller Galleries, Miami, FLGroup
2005Proyecto EspaciosGaleria Espacios, Madrid, SpainGroup
2005Recuento de un añoGaleria Villa Manuela, Havana, CubaGroup
200413 pintores cubanos de hoyGaleria Mediterranea, Palma de Mallorca, SpainGroup
2004Art Toronto 2004, Cuba ArtMetro Toronto Convention Center, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2004Plastica cubana contemporáneaGaleria Entre Aguas, Madrid, SpainGroup
2004Mirada interiorConvento de San Francisco de Asis, Havana, CubaGroup
2003Un poco de miMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, CubaSolo
2003Onda expansiva: ocho añosGaleria Lyle O’Rietzel, Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicGroup
2003Sentido comúnGaleria Habana, Havana, CubaGroup
2003En el borde, exposición de arte eroticoHotel Palacio O’Farrill, Havana, CubaGroup
2001II Salon de Arte EroticoGaleria La Acacia, Havana, CubaGroup
2001Art Paris 2001Carrousel del Louvre, Paris, FranceGroup
2001Fabelo, Lucio Muñoz y Manolo Valdes, tres nombres, tres conceptos, tres caminosGaleria Pedro Torres, Logroño, SpainGroup
2000Roberto FabeloGaleria Charlotte Moser, Geneve, SwitzerlandSolo
2000Tres de CubaGaleria Moleiros, Monterrey, MexicoGroup
2000Cuba 2000Espace Commines, París, FranceGroup
1999Mas alla del papelCentro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, SpainGroup
19996 pintores cubanosGaleria Arte Actual, La Dehesa, Santiago de Chile, ChileGroup
1998Roberto Fabelo, Obra recienteIX Feria de Arte Santander, Santander, SpainSolo
1998Plastica cubanaGaleria Ator, Gijon, SpainGroup
1998Peninsulares y criollosDiputacion de Huesca, Huesca, SpainGroup
1997Trabajos en el procesoGaleria La Acacia, Havana, CubaSolo
1997UntitledFeria de Arte Santander, Santander, SpainGroup
1997UntitledARCO, Madrid, SpainGroup
1996I Bienal Iberoamericana de AcuarelaViña del Mar, ChileGroup
1996UntitledARCO, Madrid, SpainGroup
1995Imágenes de MartiTeatro Nacional Ruben Dario, Managua, NicaraguaGroup
1995Imágenes de MartiMuseo de Arte Contemporaneo, Ciudad de Panama, PanamaGroup
1995Arte Contemporaneo CubanoMuseo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicGroup
199512 cuentos peregrinosGaleria Latinoamericana, Casa de las Americas, Havana, CubaGroup
1995UntitledARCO, Madrid, SpainGroup
1994Roberto FabeloGaleria Torres, Bilbao, SpainSolo
1994El trio de la seducciónGaleria La Acacia, Havana, CubaGroup
1993Roberto FabeloGaleria Torres, Bilbao, SpainSolo
1993Roberto FabeloGaleria Xeito, Madrid, SpainSolo
1993Dibujo no te olvidoCentro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, CubaGroup
1992UntitledGaleria Elaine Benson, New York, NYGroup
1992Artistas cubanos de hoySan Roman de Escalante, Cantabria, SpainGroup
1992Genesis y raícesGaleria La Acacia, Havana, CubaGroup
1991Donde esta Fabelo? DibujandoGaleria Galiano, Havana, CubaSolo
199118 Pintores CubanosFestival L’Humanite, Paris, FranceGroup
1990DibujosGaleria Metropolitana, MexicoSolo
1990Roberto FabeloGaleria Tamiz, Maracaibo, VenezuelaSolo
1989AcuarelasGaleria Pacifico, Puerto Vallarta, MexicoSolo
1988Fragmentos vitalesMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, CubaSolo
1988Dibujos y AcuarelasGaleria OMR, MexicoSolo
1987Fragmentos vitalesMuseo de Arte Moderno, MexicoSolo
1987Cuban PaintingUnited Nations, New York, NYGroup
1986II Bienal de la HabanaMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, CubaSolo
1986Roberto FabeloCentro Cultural Hispanico, Atenas, GreeceSolo
1985MuestrarioMuseo Universitario del Chopo, MexicoSolo
1985UntitledCasa de la Cultura de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, MexicoGroup
1985Papeles RecientesGaleria Habana, Havana, CubaGroup
1985Joan Miró ContestJoan Miró Foundation, Barcelona, SpainGroup
1983Roberto FabeloGaleria de Arte de Bayamo, Bayamo, CubaSolo
1983Seven Contemporary Cuban ArtistsMuseo de Arte Moderno, Madrid, SpainGroup
1982Roberto FabeloGaleria Latina, Stockolm, SwedenSolo
1981Kubanska TecknareGaleria Latina, Stockolm, SwedenSolo
1981Roberto FabeloNordylland Bank, Albourg, DenmarkSolo
1980Ten Cuban Artists of TodayWestbeth Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1979Roberto FabeloEscuela de Arte de San Alejandro, Havana, CubaSolo