Jeannine Achon


Jeannine Achón's ‘Ashé’

by Justin Chambers

‘The ashé is a deeply embedded concept in Cuban culture and spirituality; it is the primordial breath, the vital energy, the world's soul. It is a power made of pure energy. I tried to get a little bit closer to this symbolic world and share it through this series of abstract paintings named by some orishas, its deities. When I paint, I try to open doors and paths to the imagination. I don’t see it as a mirror, but as a passage, toward the others and our interiority.’ Jeannine Achón, April 2013. Zagreb

If you happen to be in Zagreb, Croatia later this month you have to see Jeannine Achón’s new exhibition, ‘Ashé’, curated by Ivan Mesek. I had the pleasure of knowing Jeannine for some years in Havana and she is both a very talented artist but a wonderful person.




The work of Jeannine Achón (Havana, 1973) is presented to viewers from the point at which sensitivity, mystery and intelligence converge.
In the works she has been producing in this new stage –recently exhibited under the title Las intermitencias del color (Intermittences of color) -, she shows a technique that allows the artist to stress on canvas once again the pleasure of color, while the liberty guides her in the meeting of spots and lines and in the distribution of light and shade moving around her pieces. In this way, intuitive but at the same time laborious, she finds her way to occupy, with reason, the spontaneous spaces present in artistic creation. Symbols and images merge into a language where, year after year, the passage of time gives it the soundness of experience.
There are fifteen pieces (acrylics on canvas) “gamboling” in the exhibition Intermittences of color, in which the creator plays with the title of an emblematic work by choreographer Roland Petit (Intermittences of the heart), and replaces the beats of the important organ with splashes of color and gestures that give movement to the works, and take us through internal, unknown paths, and at the same time near, where we feel how the “veins” unite between one painting and another carrying a “substance” inside: the color that changes, mixes as if though communicating vessels of energy and feelings.
Because Jeannine (a graduate from the Higher Institute of Industrial Design, 1996) increasingly depicts feelings in her paintings, and she manages to do so by way of exact strokes that gives movement to images. Thus, the lines that, as if in sections, organize the reading of what’s shown on canvas emerge –like a journey-, in their continuity. In this way, an internal tension is created as a result of a drawing of insinuated outlines. The prolongation of strokes and the pictorial atmosphere around them suggest the presence of multiple forms or a single one in full impulse.
Everything that moves around her, whether internal or external, impresses her senses, and then, with fast gestures, brush in hand, she translates into images those sensations she reflects on canvas to delight ours. Each of her pieces makes us pause and read, in a lyrical way, the message brought to us from deep down in her imagination.
The artist, who has the illustrations of over ten books of the Gente Nueva Publishing House to her credit -Poemas de La Edad de Oro, El canto de la cigarra, and Diez cuentos africanos, among others- told this newspaper, while referring to her work: “when I paint, I try to open doors and paths to the imagination of those in front of my pieces. I don’t see it as a mirror, but as a passage. Sometimes, figurative forms appear in the abstract. They’re coincidences, perhaps intermittences. I don’t look for them, but I don’t reject them if they appear.”
The aesthetic discourse of the painter and designer has, above all, an imminently internal nature; it comes out from the bottom of her heart. Jeannine’s creative mechanisms are moved by a kind of mysticism, where mental and material processes shape an indistinct flow. Each new painting introduces us to a fantastic experience in which imagination recreates a succession of cuts and zigzags. Her brush accomplishes increasingly abstract forms, in which color suggests the climate each work requires. In some, a cold and monochromatic palette reflects sad feelings; in others, tonalities complement each other to create a festive atmosphere. Everything refers to the presence of an unlimited passion beating inside her (like that heart suggested in the title of the exhibition that can be felt but not seen) and that in time to an internal or external music –perhaps- interpreted on the white surface, already colored, a metaphor for life.