Li D Fong - Retrato

Li D Fong – At his studio

I am restless by nature. I have always responded promptly to the pressing need to create because new possibilities burn inside me that I must constantly express; to fill in the blank spaces of the canvas with these “worlds” or living spaces I create.

It has always been that way since I began to create, which was at a very early age. I have always been compelled by the urge to present narratives through images; to tell stories, not with words, but with pictures.

I received my technical training at San Alejandro Academy of Art in Havana where I specialized in engraving, although I had always preferred painting. This, however, enabled me to develop in a wider sense and provided a new arsenal of possibilities for my future as an artist. My teacher during this period was Belkis Ayón, a great figure of Cuban art. But I must point out that the atmosphere at home favored my development, because my parents Flora Fong (a painter) and Nelson Domínguez (a visual artist) are renowned Cuban artists with substantial work and impressive careers.

I do not feel a direct influence from any particular artist, but I have appreciated the work of artists who have enriched my vision and both guided my spirituality as well as answered concerns arising while executing my work. From Cuban artists, something about those figures of Fidelio Ponce de León that dilute in the mist, and also something from the works of Roberto Fabelo of some years ago. Among European masters, Salvador Dali impressed me, and I regard him as a figure to be taken into consideration in that surreal world that seduces me and allows me to express myself so well.

I do not pressure myself when I start working on a piece. I begin with an initial idea, and even allow the flow of expression. My work, eminently introspective, urges me to search inside and constantly create relations and affinities in that universe of new stories. On occasions I begin with primary blots and nourish them with existential or imaginary elements. Then I print on the canvas, dilute with turpentine, and paint on top of that result… Painting accidents also contribute to the concretion of a piece; one fixes them and works on them, but they contribute to the search for novel solutions that I connect to the constant experimentation present in my creation.

My most recent works as well as those of my early years bring stories of characters that never cease to penetrate the vast territories of invention, helping to paint that door linking my personal imagery with the real environment in which I concretize the work of art.

The dreamy atmosphere that prevails in all the works I am exhibiting is typical of my most recent works. In them there is a constant presence of textures and drawings which can be ‘guessed’ within these textures and are outlined with soft lines. This surrealist atmosphere dominates all my work and is a constant element that unifies it. Another recurrent element is the lack of definition of the backgrounds: they are atypical spaces, bridges, stairs, roads, fountains, gardens… located in unidentified places. Because they all belong to the world of dreams, they are truly hallucinatory.

Mine is a journey that includes anonymous places, supernatural travelers, and hinted landscapes; always with the consistency of the surrealistic atmosphere. In almost all of them there is a monochromatic vision of the represented spaces, which produces the impression of changing light, all under the title of Memorias de ruta (Journey Recollections), a tour of the imagination and fantasies. Because that route is nothing but the vision of a longer journey with stops at each of these works, each one of them is a moment, a transit through that dreamed or imagined reality; in short, a way to share my experience. The seventeen pieces in mixed technique on canvas I am now showing are reliable examples of the above. In Sobrevi­viente, where grays predominate, a character ascends in a dark space, as if trapped in a hollow. Escenario I corresponds to a scene in which a small figure is walking along a bridge and is being observed by another character in the foreground, everything in earth tones. An intriguing feminine face is the center of Composición, in which the diversity of textures is a highly important element. The outline of a leaf that blends with a feminine profile contains a body on the front plane of a distant landscape with building and bridges: that is Hoja de ruta, summarizing the idea of all the images of this immaterial journey. In the larger format pieces I display a panoramic view containing multiple elements that combine into an overwhelming landscape that draws the viewer’s attention. He has now become a fellow traveler, because the contemplation of each one of the facets of these routes offers a vision of the interior world I insist upon imparting, always lavish in new facets and untiring in the search of an authentic expression.