Jeannine Achón's ‘Ashé’ 
by M.A. Ivan Mesek Varaždin
Wednesday May 15th sees the opening of Jeannine’s second exhibition at Galerija matice hrvatske, in Croatia http://www.matica.hr/ by Carlos Marsán, Cuban ambassador for Croatia.
‘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

 
Reviews & commentary of Jeannine’s work
"The Ashé series of Cuban painter Jeannine Achón was created in 2012 and 2013, almost exactly one hundred years after the first edition of the famous book by Wassily Kandinsky “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”. Although this is probably a coincidence, this fact - or this sign - can serve as a guide and inspiration to familiarize ourselves with the pictorial poetics of this amazing artist. Jeannine, in fact, paints abstractions in which color plays a very dematerialising role to better open up a spiritual reality.

The purpose of these paintings is by no means strictly representative, or even symbolic; we are dealing with pictorial evidence of pure energy, aiming to communicate with - as the author points out - the original breath, that is to say the very soul of the world. The Ashé is a spiritual concept deeply rooted in the Cuban tradition, referring to the entire world and life in itself; Jeannine offers us to enter this world  through a series of works without any usual content or any explicit reference. Each deity represents the prism of the Ashé; their basic forms - especially expressed through colored mutually penetrating structures - have a very healing effect, or even therapeutic, on the observer.

Every good painting, whether abstract or figurative, necessarily involves communication. In doing so, Jeannine does not seek the rational of the observer, she first tries to stimulate one’s feelings and intuition. By their imposing size, her works aspire us physically and mentally. They lead us to a spiritual opening to something essential and ubiquitous. Trying to separate the content and the form in Jeannine Achon paintings would be superfluous and unnecessary; both are inextricably linked to colors, and as such solely under the influence of some kind of intangible value. A hundred years earlier, Kandinsky developed the theory of a completely new approach to painting and its understanding and perception. With the Ashé cycle, Jeannine Achon remarkably achieves to carve her path with authenticity in the wake of this spiritual-abstract movement, drawing her inspiration from the culture and tradition of her native Cuba. VANJA BABIĆ"

Pf. Vanja Babić
Curator and director of the Galerija matice hrvatske, in Croatia

If we substituted the descriptions of various orishes (divinities) with the basic principles of visual arts and colourism, we would practically get a small handbook of painting. And it is exactly this archetypal aspect that inspired the artist to make a series of abstract paintings, the aspect in which the traditional, direct perception of the world through the concept of Asha overlaps or turns into a harmony of colours. Every painting, named after one of those divinities that depict the character of nature and the genuineness of the world, is a reflection of Jeannine’s defining of her own identity, powerfully determined with this sphere of the spirituality of the traditional Cuba. For the past few years, as she has been spending time and becoming acquainted with the traditions and customs of the French and Croatian lands and climates, the identification and questioning of the roots becomes more prominent. From the distance the picture becomes more clear.

The author herself does not choose square formats of bigger dimensions accidentally. The format that is laid down tells a story...one can read it from one side to the other. The square imposes a focal point of the format as a source of everything, as a birthplace of a story, a spot from which a whole world unfolds-a spot that is actually the author herself (in Eastern tradition the principle of defining the world through the ritual mandalas).

Bigger formats express almost tangible, physical presence of the creator himself in the world of visual arts created by him.

And it almost feels like shame those paintings have to have a format at all. They could easily function without it and it is isn’t hard to imagine and experience them in the space outside the format into which the forms and colours overflow.

With no intention of sounding like blasphemy, Jeannine, just like an archetypal divinity gives the breath of life to the whiteness of the canvass, so the colours and forms become alive and spread the primordial artistry both into the space that they finds itself in as well as the interior space of each one of the observers.

M.A. Ivan Mesek
Varaždin, April 2013
About Jeannine Achon
About Jeannine Achon
Jeannine Marie Achon Rodriguez was born in Havana (Cuba) on December 23, 1973; she graduated from the Lenin School and the Higher Institute of Industrial Design (ISDI - 1996), specializing in habitat.

For some years she served as a designer and participates in hotels projects as the Hotel Nacional and Capri. At the same time, she created artworks for hotels in Holguin and Varadero.

At the same time, she discovers the world of scientific illustration and children's books and works for the publishing company Gente Nueva, in Havana. Then she meets other artists and decides to take a leap and turn to painting, since 2004.

Since then, she has devoted herself to abstract painting and managed to organize a few exhibitions, presenting more than fifty paintings. Some of them are part of private collections in Cuba, France, Canada, USA, Austria and Turkey. Since 2010, Jeannine has been based in Croatia, where she has her atelier-gallery. She also shares her time between Cuba and the south of France.
Personal exhibitions:
“Ashé”, 2013; Galerija Center Varazdin (Varazdin) , Croatia and Matica Hrvatska (Zagreb)
"The intermittences of color," 2009; UNEAC, Havana City.
"Do not ever lie," 2008; Hotel Sevilla, Havana City.
"The Lost Gate", 2005; Hnos Saiz Brothers Association, Isla de la Juventud.

Group shows:
"The reality ... is wonderful", March 2006 (IX Havana Biennial) Rene Portocarrero printing workshop.
"Art and woman in Cuba," April 2006; Southwark Civic Center, Madrid.
"Women With Vision", March 2006 Autonomous University of Madrid.
About Jeannine Achon
April 2013
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