Ships and cities’ soul

“Rooms in the bend
among towns
which are going
are going down“

Octavio Paz

In the paintings of Federico Romero Bayter the lines seemed go away towards some points inside the paper. These obsessive lines entwine and the images which result, show us strange and disturbing cities, that suddenly, as in front of a blaze, we can succeed to recognize, even tough what it showed to us isn’t the city but one of his faces: perhaps that exclusive profile that only the artist see and there exists,exclusively on the paper and on the canvas.

On the margins to the city, on the sea, there are enormous ports and enigmatic transatlantics, when they are uploaded. Where are they going?

The artist arrives in a place and he observes it, he questions with his arms, probably with his eye and he lets that this modifies it. The work which was born is the result of this process and of a strange dialogue among the place and the artist. We see so raise those squares, those streets and facades in a disturbing bliss, that, in my opinion, sometimes hides a scream, or a weep.

The cities are there, lonely. There isn’t nobody ,inside: they are alone. The same goes for the ships and for the port.

Nobody live there, outside of the artist’s eye and of who observes the picture, because the passerby of those spoky squares, the passerby of those impossible ships is who look them. The watcher live them.


I recognize in the urban gaze of Fede something of my same story. I have moved too very young in another country. First in Madrid and then in Paris. Weird cities where just arrived, I felt and probably I was, invisible. Cold and nervous towns, from the sharp teeth.

These cities have been the onset’s sentries of my europe life , of my youth’s dreams , a period that I considered and that now I meet again in Federico’s pictures, in his way to portray something that I have felt: an essential and vital loneliness, expressed in endless walks through hostile roads, observing everything with distance ,searching to populate these spaces with my first ideas. I recall my come and go in those sharp traits, with memory and with pleasure . The deaf dialogue with the statues , the bows and the forecourts.The questions without answer about life that I had to live. The eternal questions. There is a theory about empty and deserted ships , squares and streets which talks us about the world, how it is today , for those who go migrate and live far away. Pain’s migrants or intention ‘s migrants . A world of nervous and lonely towns , populated by invisible beings who find theirselves in another cities, still more faraway and unattanaible with their desire or in their dreams …The reality’s cities and those of the desire are never the same.

In the way that Federico paints them, the cities where we arrive alone.

The cities where sometimes we felt afraid because the nigt falls, but in these cities we find a fate that goes beyond the fear.

So are the cities to whom Rimbaud sent us, when he signed the path to every artists:” A l’aurore, armés d’une ardente patience, nous entretìrons aux splendides villes” ..

That’s why in these pictures, where there aren’t people, but cities and ships, what Federico does is talk us about the human soul, of his fundamental loneliness and of his probable destiny.

Santiago Gamboa