Art by Excelencias mourns the recent passing of Cuban intellectual Rufo Caballero (Cardenas 1966-2011), a traditional contributing writer and member of our magazine’s publishing council since its foundation. In his “All by Oneself”, column he showed off his erudition and his gifts in reviewing the processes of art.

1. With his constantly increasing professional evolution, Rufo Caballero showed that he was an endless creator of intellectual genre or communicative expression. Hence his projection by means of Chronics, Criticism for Magazines, Essays, TV Comments, Polemics, Dialogues by email, Teaching, Curatorial Act, Practice of Video and, finally Narrative Literature. He really was extremely careful and lucid enough, mostly during the time he has already removed excesses from a “quasi baroque” writing, to move –in writing or orally– according to the characteristics and purpose of the media where he was projecting himself. 2. His Discourse thinking always integrated –in variable doses– the dimensions of his personality and way of operation: semantic invention and naked judgment , the Lezamian “Culture of the Eye” and the diverse result of its several readings, a cult sensibility and the regular individual’s common sense, what is rational and desired, the legitimate speculation and the concept construction, the personal “intimate universe” and the impression of historic scenario, his truth and the respect for the others. I witnessed and, at the same time, I was the object of judgment, when– during his first stage of critical exercise about plastic– this addition of sides of intellectual behavior allowed him to capture the prevailing presence that theater and masks would have in my work, even when it was still too early for such a definition: it was the accurate approach, extended in a text he wrote for a very basic brochure of my pictorial exhibition named: “Without a Catalogue” (Gallery La Acacia, Havana, 1993). As of then, I know of his special talent and his capacity to equally grasp all types of traditional languages, change languages and even non-object language, as long as there is a genuinely creative project in them. 3. All the doings he left us reveals how he could fully overcome the temptations of a negative and biased approach, without never moving towards a tendentious and rigid vision about Arts and artists nor getting immersed into the severe reductionism that has fragmented and made the critical reason poorer, taking it sometimes to dead ends or just to non– rhetoric thinking. He knew that what was really correct about the analyst’s esthetic appreciation was the bringing to light the implications and specifications of the various artistic processes that converged in the nation and time. That was one of the guiding “knots” that joined his interpretative and assessing action with the fair and open of his specialized and plural receptivity. 4. Since he took the text also as an esthetic object which needed the good and suggesting format and did not hesitate to melt it with whatever was useful to enrich it and sharpen it, he was able to achieve that the way of saying coincided with the spirit f the matter in discussion, that cultural history melted with new signs, that a profuse prose revealing its hedonic nature was projected– as per the case and public- through narrow communication paths. 5. His critics and poetics (because he had it in his saying and in practicing imaginative media) represent one of the most pure and summarizing moments of the critical national way of doing visual arts, as he was able to catch previous contributions from the profession that he considered to have ups and downs while internalizing the various trends of esthetic thought, exuberant essay and narrative styles, post-modern and paratheoretical element, movies structural logics and multiple codes inherent to the “world of image”. This comprehensive approach led him to think of Arts and artists from decoding complementary perspectives that appeared in course of culture history. Even when it emerged when the new Art Cuban Critic (decade of 80s-90s) gave priority to conceptual paradigms, to looking to the work from Philosophy or placing it in complex psychological coordinates, Rufo rapidly selected the multidirectional integrated concept that allowed him for the understanding and stimulation –by means of an intuitive and enriched method– of the subsequent, parallel and emerging routes of expression. 6. For him, ethics was not a matter of hypocritical morality, but an attitude consistent with his appreciation of reality and culture events, respect to its natural and intellectual parents, the need to translate into words the observation and joy experiences and an almost Salomon-like eagerness to recognize their accurate proceeding and analytic judgment. 7. Just like if in his history and pupil the surrealistic thesis of “communicating vases” exposed by Breton, the use of a dialogue (that comes from the Greeks) as a plural possibility of revelations and the dialectics of finding in different and even opposed fields the indispensable meaning and significance, he created a system of personal expression that was constantly enriched, it became transparent or he selected the indirect keys, he interacted in different ways with known artistic works and opened question marks to assume the unknown ones, he combined close with universal events, while the pleasures of his own subjectivity became concrete. Havana, January 2011