Roberto Fabelo - New Now New York Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Painted in 2012, Chicharrón is a sumptuous example of Roberto Fabelo's understanding of color and form. Questioning human beings’ roles as predators of the planet, Chicharrón an iconic image of the animal as human. Fabelo’s self-named process of recontextualizing familiar art historical imagery, or “recycling” as he calls it, is an essential element of his practice. Fabelo’s depictions of human existence “denounce stupidity, unresponsiveness, and abjection” and present them to the viewer to experience their full influence.i
    "All Cubans are innate recyclers […]. It is something inherent to us as survivors of shortages and having to give up many things; recycling is a term that refers not only to material objects but also to our best sentiments—our memories, our culture. We have all had to recycle, and I’ve found myself in that tide, too."
    —Roberto Fabelo

    Francisco de Goya, Visión fantasmal, circa 1801.

    Chicharrón is equally based in the complex history of Cuban colonialism as it is in the ongoing philosophical narrative of the pig as unwelcome and unworthy leader. Often equated with Spanish gastronomy, the “chicharrón” here is all but appetizing. Fabelo’s visual irony is strong, and here too, he is “recycling” popular imagery. In a similar, literary tone to Roberto Fabelo, George Orwell’s  Animal Farm tells the story of a blistering, wrathful pig dictator. In preparation for the revolution against the farm-owners, Old Major, the farm boar, states that “man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk. He does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is the lord of all the animals."ii Orwell’s satirical work illustrates just how intelligent and powerful animals may be, and ultimately blurs the line between them and the humans. In the final stages of the novel, when pigs rule among humans, together, Orwell insinuates just how similar the two really are.” Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."iii George Orwell’s political and social satire parallels Fabelo’s: we are animals.

    Chicharrón’s many creases, folds, bluish undertones and bloody background all harken back to grotesque nature of the human as pig. In a similar vein to the great modern fantasists, Fabelo shows, with a Goya-like vehemence, from Bosch and Bruegel to Picasso, that human beings are more sinister than they appear to be on the surface.

    i Gladys Yunes Yunes, “Roberto Fabelo, Galeria Habana,” ArtNexus, vol. 12, no. 88, 2013, p. 101.
    ii George Orwell, Animal Farm: Centennial Edition, New York, 2003, p. 7.
    iii Ibid, p. 126.

    • Provenance

      Galería Habana, Havana
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Havana, Galería Habana, Roberto Fabelo: Nos Somos Animales, 2012, p. 33 (illustrated, front cover, pp. 12, 36–37; Galería Habana, Havana, 2012 installation view illustrated, pp. 32–33; detail illustrated, p. 34)

    • Literature

      Caridad Blanco de la Cruz, "Roberto Fabelo: Galería Habana," ArtNexus, vol. 12, no. 88, March–May 2013, p. 101 (illustrated)
      Isabel María Pérez Pérez, ed., Roberto Fabelo, Seville, 2016, p. 70 (illustrated)
      "It's Creative, It's Fresh, It's Still Undervalued: Cuban Contemporary Art," Cuban Art News, November 16, 2019, online (illustrated)



signed, titled and dated "chicharrón Fabelo 2012" lower right
oil on canvas
90 1/2 x 78 1/2 in. (229.9 x 199.4 cm)
Painted in 2012, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $214,200

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen
Head of Sale, New Now
212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2022