His fantastic creatures are both humans and gods, even when they look like grasshoppers with impassive faces. Their attitudes of frenzied trances and dances belong to the Cuban voodoo imported from Africa. Lam is too lucid to believe such fables : his characters are symbols of the possibility of a counter-culture, artfully supported by the title of his works.
Gradually the artist shows lit foregrounds in front of a dark night. In 1961 Tropique du Capricorne, 146 x 218 cm, still admits some colors in its scene which gathers a male and a female at rest with a horse of Guernica.
On December 6 in Paris, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas of the same size painted in 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis, lot 11 estimated € 2,5M.
In this composition in the style of a monochrome collage on a black background, four dehumanized creatures are altogether levitating and convulsive. They are threatened by a Damocles' sword while a lost arrow goes outward.
The surrealist title, A trois centimètres de la Terre, is a political message understandable by the Voodoo initiates. It evokes the oppression of the Oshoumaré spirit to whom a despotic Yoruba god had forbidden to put his feet again on the ground.
SOLD for € 4.4M including premium