ART, THREE WOMEN, AND A BRAID: Corazon Del Sol, Eugenia Perpetua Butler, Eugenia Butler
by Rosanna Albertini
(This art piece by Corazon Del Sol has been made for The Kite)
“My mother was…” Corazon Del Sol sorts out threads of memories that wind through her feelings, “she was a great artist entirely devoted to fragility and vulnerability.” Her mother was Eugenia Perpetua Butler. While she unfolds page by page of her mother’s 14 by 17 black notebook, drawings, as well as dreams pinned down in words, are lit by her voice, they take off. Silently, my own mother’s stories evaporate from my brain at the same time. Corazon and her mother often slept in the same bed, often sharing only one room, in Central America or California. I never slept in my mother’s bed. I’m only saying that to work with an artist is very different from scientific observation. As new stories come into play, they instantly pinch the threads of my own stories, distant and incongruous experiences merge into a new integration almost by themselves. Perhaps we only imagine ourselves, Corazon and I, as if we knew something.
“There is something universal here; not just something personal.” Ludwig Wittgenstein would say, On Certainty, 440.
The only thing we know for sure is that our mothers are in our body: in the same way Eugenia Butler the gallerist was in Eugenia Perpetua’s body. The month after she passed away my mother was so strongly in my body that I had to ask her to leave, even the mirror showed her more than me.
But re-turning to our mothers we can feel in touch, if not really knowing, with our instinctual identity. Conflicts keep it crispy. “? Who is the stranger in myself” – E. Perpetua’s question, and struggle: “The idea is that you force yourself to execute an almost impossible task under unlikely circumstances.” “Art is not a will which is intellect but being and intent.” “Like many of my generation we found ourselves caught inside a historical envelope that we never understood…we seldom know each other and can only guess, guess at the lives that…” Yes Eugenia Perpetua, I could say the same. I was born two years earlier. I hope you don’t mind if I skip details of your life and of your mother’s life. Things didn’t turn out well, you told me. Yet you had a daughter, and I remember, uttering her name your eyes did smile. I’m avoiding local circumstances, art history episodes. Simply I call you back as an artist, the secret artist you entrusted to your black notebooks, and I’m trying to give back to you the same token of ‘amorous and civilized’ signs you left in your secret books: the art of delicacy. Somebody* told that delicacy is the artistic form of compassion, ‘it touches lightly.‘
Among your cut papers I found a small report which is like everything else, impossible to classify as a fact, or to detect how reliable it is. Let’s keep it in the black box of your feelings, with the meaning it had for you:
An IBM scientist and his colleagues have
discovered a way to make an object
disintegrate in one place and reappear intact
It seems to me you are reappearing in your daughter’s art. Through you, also her grandmother the gallerist reappears. Let me paraphrase Roland Barthes’s glorification of love: Love has no specific place, neither in our spoken words or written arguments. Love is the ultimate escapist we can talk about only if we consider it a beyond evaluation treasure we put aside for when we are lost. Every kind of discourse about love is always addressed to somebody. “A person whom one addresses, though this person may have shifted to the condition of a phantom or a creature still to come. No one wants to speak of love unless it is FOR someone.”
As in the braid, there’s no beginning or ending in this post, no separation between images, art, documents and lives. There is, feelings.
The letter is now at The Getty Research Institute, Special collection. I received detailed information about it from Francesca Guicciardi and Giuseppina Panza, daughter in law and daughter of Giuseppe Panza. They both take care of the Panza Collection. In January 1970 Giuseppe Panza wrote to Eugenia Butler searching for artworks by conceptual artists. This is the first answer, another followed in February offering more pieces. Photographs of the pieces were included.
In May 1970 Panza bought from Eugenia Butler four artworks by Douglas Huebler: Duration Piece 14, Salisbury, New Hampshire, October 1968 and Location Piece #9, New England, March 1969. Location Piece #1, New York – Los Angeles, February 1969 and Duration Piece #12, Venice California – Plum Island, (Newburyport) Massachusetts, May 1969. – Between end of May and end of July he will purchase also an artwork and a drawing on paper by Joseph Kosuth: Twenty-Five Works in a Context as one Work (Special Investigation), July 1969, (on stickers); Project for Seven Square Grey Painting on Canvas with Words as Art, 1966, (drawing).
* Roland Barthes, Fragments d’un discours amoureux, 1977, A Lover’s Discourse – Fragments, 1978, Translated by Richard Howard.