In his new series of works based on Piña Negra, the black pineapple, Roman Van der Haven draws inspiration from his own youth in Spain. Piña Negra is an image from a dream he had in 2010. It represents both the devouring black hole and the Big Bang from which a new fictitious universe is born. For Van der Haven, Piña Negra means a new era of creative growth after aimlessly searching for a time.
The main character in this new universe of the black pineapple is Cimarrón, loosely based on the 11-year old Roman Van der Haven himself. Cimarrón were the slaves who fought for their liberty in Cuban history; Van der Haven encountered the term while on travel there. He feels a deep aspiration to break free from his own artistic shackles.
The other portraits in the series are called Guardia and Mus. Guardia is the mysterious, sinister antagonist whose motivations remain unclear, while the third portrait is of Mus, Cimarrón's companion. Notably, these works are always exactly the same size (the artist's own height in real life) while the figures they depict vary in height. The rigidity of the characters' poses and three-quarter viewing angle is a reference to 17th century portrait painting, further enforced by the small base on which they stand. The intent is for the viewer to see these characters as if they were beamed here from another dimension.
Roman van der Haven (1983) lives and works in Amsterdam (NL). After having worked for years in the creative industry for studios and clients such as Nintendo, Guerrilla Games, Virtual Fairground and London agency Slide, he now focuses on his own personal work. His motivation to move away from work-for-hire came from a dream he had about a black pineapple, the Piña Negra, that led to an explosion of new, creative inspiration.
The fictitious universe of Piña Negra also forms the basis of his new series of works.