Stories (EN)

Julio Lorente

Trilogy of silence

By Ernesto Santana

You have to enter the jungle with suspicion. That is, in the space taken by the symbols. At the other extreme of the symbolic richness begins the icy zone of allegory, which is what lies at the end of every history of salvation, of every redeeming biography.

Silence 1

“My work is the symbolic translation of my critical thinking,” says Julio Lorente just as Havana, which claims to be Cuba, celebrates half a millennium since its founding and completes 60 years of the revolutionary triumph of 1959, and all the ingredients of reality reach a critical mass of thought.

“A journey through the history of ideologies”, the artist continues, as if drawing a curved line that ends: “and its impact on the collective imagination. The jungle gets complicated. It is a battle of symbols, a fight of ideas and the shadows cast by that belligerence on the landscape that communicates the individual minds.

We are in the middle of the ideological jungle and it is very late at night, very late in history, in this loop of burning peace of the Cold War. We are the remote but with capital letters. We are written on a rusty iron coin lost in the grass, and effigies are parading before us.

Martí and Lenin, a wheel of opposites, republic and utopia, earthly coexistence and assault on heaven. History reduces everything to its minimum expression, the idea, which is uninhabitable but addictive. Like the notion of the savior who liberates us from ourselves.

El silencio del apóstol (The Apostle’s Silence) presents Martí in  an oil painting according to a well-known photo, but accentuates the distance of his gaze with a tear that underlines his silence, which resounds throughout the trilogy like an echo. That ardent verb has remained silent. Like a farewell. The nobility of the canvas’s fabric will soon be followed by the density of the statue.

The chronicles show that the messengers cannot reveal a truth that crushes us, that salvation cannot be a tragic carnival or a painful convulsion in the succession of human occurrences.


Since utopia, by definition, does not take place, dystopia, the place displaced into time, occurs. Until never. Martí brings the message that we are not the means, but the end. The truth does not exist beyond the person himself. The key is not in the group but in each one.

Because the messenger is the message and therefore, in dystopia -failed utopia-, the messenger is in danger. Anything that breaks the Big Brother’s mantra system is a messenger of the person, an irruption of the individual.

Each of us can see the same bubble of unreality in the hot city sky, the same artifact that flies with any great name, but comes from a world that will always be strange and unexplored.

A statue of Lenin held by a rope, with his arm extended towards the crowd, or towards the future, or perhaps only towards his own shadow: The Ascent of the Gods updates a fallen sculpture with an oil painting. There is also silence here, that of the wheel of history that stops for a moment. And it goes on at once, crackling with horror.

Silence 2

Lenin was an interruption between two moments of Martí, it seems to read. The interval in which a deus ex machina burst into the fickle dramaturgy of history. The prophet of the classist utopia cut out against a sky of blood, like a messenger from a wild world.

Towards the sky the statue is torn down and the thick figure on the ground leaves his feet of clay among the ravaged fields. A non-human skirmish that returns like an insistent wave to the beach where we count the days of sand.

There is never enough caution when entering the jungle of symbols. In the museum of effigies. The living bodies that are not seen are very lonely. We are. The fireworks of ideas light up each one’s unique and trembling shadow.

The silence of God is an oil painting on wood that portrays the dumbness of a coin on the sky of black coagulated blood that was still fresh in the previous painting. A numismatic sun rises in an atmosphere of transparent irony.

On the hieratic profile – now without a tear – of the one who embodies the national sacrifice, the three-word rainbow seems to pray “Cuba and the night”. The number 1959 stretches a horizon towards the last century, puts the ground to turn, in silence, the wheel of the coin. Or of history.

Because the change of the symbolisms brings up different stories, fables beyond an alleged similarity with stages of the last decades in Cuba, up to the morals of political art and the games of the saiors’ spatial dimensions, Julio Lorente seems to tell us.

In the end, we should not forget that, in the jungle of symbols, Lenin and Martí lose sight of each other, as faithful antipodes, as a solid whole that vanishes into thin air.

Julio Lorente
Julio Lorente
Julio Lorente
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