AMERICAN ALLIGATORS IN MID-AIR

 

Paintings and drawings by STEVE GALLOWAY, Los Angeles

“I travel through time,” says a seven year old, “Which time? Ancient, a far past?”
asks the adult. “I come from yesterday night.”

A conversation reported by artist Giuliano Nannipieri, from Livorno (Italy)

STEVE GALLOWAY, Suppose 2011  14″ x 11″ Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

STEVE GALLOWAY, Terrestrial Patterns 2007 15″x 11″ Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

MEMORY BEHIND THE EYES

by Rosanna Albertini

John Cage wrote that the means of thinking are exterior to the mind, and we might leave the mind ready to welcome divine influences. It is so hard to do. Maybe the handstand on the back of heron, giving our feet to the sky, would help if we could accept being displaced in an unfamiliar landscape. Steve Galloway places the heron on an alligator and the alligator in mid-air. This pathetic description, that says nothing about the art, only sends the art to hell.

You can only count on your eyes and look through charcoal and pastel until the imaginary land the artist found behind his eyes starts filling the paper. Along with him, we believe he saw it, he discovered it, he felt the power of images somehow as people did when they did not have books in their hands, and written language. “Tout faire parler,” let everything talk, representing the “large uniform flatland of words and things.” (Michel Foucault)

STEVE GALLOWAY, Floating 2008 52″ x 72″ Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

STEVE GALLOWAY, Moonflight 2015 20″ x 25″  Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose gallery

Words, animals, and trees as figures of the world, limbs of the same body: neither too big nor too little, as they must be deep in a dream: feelings wearing the heaviness of matter: they are so dense and persistent that maybe only the alligator’s skin reveals their bumpy, obstinate proliferation. Now, as well as in the night of times, we know there is an infinite mystery we were born in. It doesn’t matter if computers try to visualize the back holes as if they were organs of the universe. How can we believe in what scientists say today, which is different from what they told yesterday night? At least in my countryside Italian legends we found and believed newborn babies were picked up from underneath a cabbage leaf. God’s eye, only one, inscribed in a triangle, was piercing the clouds to look at us, even listening to our thoughts. I don’t know about dreams. I suspect they were secret. He was not a god we children could love, his son was much closer to us, with his bloody cut in the chest and nails through his hands and feet. Children feared the father, not the son.

Sorry, I traveled back through time. It is what Steve Galloway’s images do to me: they bring my mind to a time before the order of grammars, to the time when I believed dreams were not distant from the frozen trees I was watching through the ice crystals on the window. Seeing was believing, although most of the images were made up. Nature couldn’t be copied. Books were the end of my era of belief.

STEVE GALLOWAY, Hibbies ol’ Place 20″ x 25″  Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

We live today in an age of disbelief. Let’s read Wallace Stevens:
“It is for the poet [and the visual artist] to supply the satisfaction of belief, in his measure and in his style….
To see the gods dispelled in mid-air and dissolve like clouds is one of the great human experiences. It is not as if they had gone over the horizon to disappear for a time; … it is simply that they came to nothing. Since we have always shared all things with them and have always had a part of their strength and, certainly, all of their knowledge, we shared likewise this experience of annihilation. It was their annihilation, not ours, and yet it left us feeling disposed and alone in a solitude, like children without parents, in a home that seemed deserted, in which the amical rooms and halls have taken on a look of hardness and emptiness. What was most extraordinary is that they left no momentous behind, no thrones, no mystic rings, no texts either of the soil or of the souls. It was if they had never inhabited the earth.”
WALLACE STEVENS, Two or three ideas.

STEVE GALLOWAY, Handstand 2011 50.8 x 63.5 cm Charcoal and pastel on paper    Courtesy of the artist

We had the Greek gods in mid-air, we had utopias, and later on in a similar vein Marx, Gramsci, Lenin and Che Guevara; now we have American alligators. They give us back impenetrable truths, and yet become our nautilus, the vehicle towards Galloway’s landscapes filled with irony and gentleness. It’s enough we “suppose” things that he doesn’t dare to entrust to words. We shouldn’t either. His image are not objects, they are “expressions of delight.”

STEVE GALLOWAY, Coyote Sky 2017, 30″ x 24″ oil on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

Bibliography

Wallace Stevens, “Two or three ideas”, in Opus Posthumous, edited by Milton J, Bates, Vintage Books, New York, 1990

John Cage, composition in retrospect, Exact Change Cambridge, 1993

Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses, Une archeologie des sciences humaines, Gallimard, paris, 1966

 

JUDY FISKIN : Photography is a mental thing

“Imagination applied to the whole world is vapid in comparison to imagination applied to a detail.” Wallace Stevens

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 234 Courtesy of the artist

“The mind is the most terrible force in the world principally in this that it is the only force that can defend us against itself. The modern world is based on this pensée.” Wallace Stevens

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 242 Courtesy of the artist

UNTITLED  by Rosanna Albertini

Each little house is a song of solitude. A body opening limbs in a space where the distance between the sky and the ground has been reduced to zero: a flat, white empty space. They would float like islands. A scrawny bush, a pole, or little trees sometimes shaped by an odd haircut are ornaments in the wrong place, a complement to the odd shape of the houses.

“I am more interested in creating an experience than in summarizing experience.”JF
“The most interesting part is looking at this little universe of representation that I can make out of the world.” JF

It’s not the maternal opening of doors and windows of people’s homes that makes the artist happy. Each print gives the houses a face, the front of a building that seem to say the viewer: “True, things are people as they are.” Wallace Stevens, Like Fiskin, isn’t afraid of absurdity.
Am I ridiculous, with my single window and the bricks on my feet? You can say so, it doesn’t touch me. Oh, my forehead is too low, maybe two round eyes, of course closed, make me smarter looking. But I have three legs and two enormous garage doors (?)
Each house is a song of indifference, a self contained score only showing the mask of a secret, not immaculate conception.

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 233 Courtesy of the artist

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 235 Courtesy of the artist

jUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 240 Courtesy of the artist

“Impenetrable, opaque, obdurate: these are good terms to apply to the work. They all express something about what the world feels like to me.” JF

Through Judy Fiskin’s mind passes, maybe, the temptation to escape architectural codes and history of forms. Her 1988 eyes isolate each house from the landscape. Each house is a detail, almost a cut out, free from aesthetic rules or repetitions of architectural patterns.
See? My windows have curved eyebrows, and they stick out from the roof!
I am, instead, the reminiscence of a stilt house. And I grew like a barn with a vague Chinese flavor of a pagoda roof. I’m better than you, replies another house whose origins are uncertain: big ears and a city look under a hat low enough to evoke a pagoda, but centered in a way that makes more evident the asymmetrical face of the house.
Each house is a chant of styles speaking different languages in the same building.

“Idealized images from my mind.” JF

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 238 Courtesy of the artist

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 239 Courtesy of the artist

One house is the queen of flatland, another is so shy she hides behind a tree, the lateral side leaning on a tall chimney. Lady symmetry sits in the body of an urban figure waiting for cars, she has two garage doors. A pale, gray creature seems to be there by mistake, what a romantic mistake!
The high contrast prints reveal a flash of light not only erasing the context around these little houses, also removing all sign of memory, and comparisons to famous buildings. What’s wrong with common life? It’s mostly stifled by an eccessive closeness, to siblings and objects. Really, we need an artist to gently building a distance, and revealing its twisted, uncanny beauty.
Each house, a scream of silence.

OF MERE BEING

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind move slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

— Wallace Stevens —

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 245 Courtesy of the artist

JUDY FISKIN, From New Architecture 1988 Plate 249 Courtesy of the artist

Bibliography:

Some Aesthetic Decisions, The Photographs of Judy Fiskin, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2011

Wallace Stevens, Opus Posthumous, Edited by Milton J. Bates, Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc. New York, 1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANDY JERNIGAN : SONGS OF PAIN, LAUGHTER and CONTENTMENT

About influences, sharing and unexpected discoveries

by JUDY FISKIN, FIONA CONNOR and ROSANNA ALBERTINI

“Art should make life more interesting than art”
Robert Filliou, quoted by Annette Messager, quoted by Sheryl Conkelton and who knows from how many others

 

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Los Angeles. It was friendship that pushed us around Candy Jernigan at the same moment, and for the first time. Three women drinking her potion from a pink cup slightly twisted, offish. Pencils stand by not less reluctant to be touched. Their scrawny bodies curved by life, and their shadows, spread a sense of pain. Blue things cannot be on the same page: they would bring in liquid sparks of infinity as the sky and the water, the inner sensation that something larger, and intangible, goes around life but nobody can grab it. Candy’s images are small parenthesis in the big picture. The musical modes of her mood reflected by simple, quotidian object friends. Mostly, her name and art sit quietly on their parenthetic couch, waiting. Somebody might lift the plastic sheet.

A vague description floating in her memory, of an art piece from the Whitney collection that was on display at the New Whitney: made with something found, small papers with colored lines… Fiona Connor was chasing the artist’s name. She asked Judy Fiskin and me. Like a waltz by Gabriel Fauré, not too cheerful and not fast enough, the hunting started between the three of us, questioning, asking other people, getting lost. Soon Fiona found the name and sent it to us with a link to the anti-product web site: it was Candy Jernigan. She died in New York at age 39 in 1991, the same year I moved to Los Angeles. Eight images on the screen.

 

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Found online images. No captions, no dates. Yet, striking. I couldn’t stop looking at the artwork. Same reaction from Judy and Fiona. “Would you send me your response to Candy Jernigan’s work, for The Kite? I will add mine,” I asked both.

Judy Fiskin

Here is my response to Candy Jernigan’s leaves from Père Lachaise:

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Fiona Connor

I went up to the Laurel Doody’s last week to stay on her house boat and found this board. I have become obsessed with casting it in bronze. I love this chopping board – it is perfectly shaped by somebody, it has scars, it is hard to pin down.

I think I responded to Candy’s work because it is about mapping the world, being out there exploring as her modus operandi, choosing a single thing to help make sense of it. At this moment a practice that does not try and sum it up or say it how it is directly feels good. There are life lines in her work.

I ordered her book. I will hopefully show it to you on Sunday, Rosanna.

I am wondering about collecting and drawing works – will they always be deemed minor? Can they survive being brought into full view when they become something that an artist does, their thing? Do they require a sort of ‘childs eye’ or naivety on everyones part?

Is this important probably not. Some bile in our romanticism.

I forgot to take your book the other day Rosanna, I have been reaching for it.

Did another Newspaper Reading Club readings at the Getty courtyard this week with Billy Woodbury he read Le Monde it was very powerful.

Judy I love your photo and I am so so so excited for your iPhone film. Fuck.

A response, some news.

There is another artist I want to point you to Yuji Agematsu. He walked round New York for a year and filled the plastic sheaths that come off of cigarette packets with bits of rubbish from the city’s floor.

Love from,

Fiona

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My response, R. A.

She was not just a collector. She picked up and took care, gently, of pieces of garbage and discarded used objects that somebody’s fingers had touched and tossed. She attached her treasures to a thick paper or drew them with precision as if honoring their existence: nicely, in order. Wraps and prints and labels and matches and found dope from the city life, a blade of grass, a leaf in the country. She organized her relics in a space of quiet.

I’m attracted by her need of order. I wonder, was her imagination “pressing back against the pressure of reality?” (Wallace Stevens) No doubt as an artist she revealed her ‘nobility’ which is spiritual depth. “Nothing distorts itself and seeks disguise more quickly. There is a shame of disclosing it and in its definite presentations a horror of it. But there it is.” Nobility makes art possible, helping to feel each day as a gift, every thing as a custodian of vibrations, changes, expressions. Candy Jernigan’s cans of beans dance her homage to Goya.

Graphic order is the first thing I was taught in school: we drew little apples, or triangles, all around the page guided by a grid of squares. We weren’t yet able to read and write. We had to follow the grid, and be precise. To be literal was obligatory. (My school was a rural school in Northern Italy, with one teacher for two classes in the same room and countryside children using ink as a weapon from the tip of the nib.)

In the end we had made ‘una greca,’ a decorative frame recalling Greek borders. But Greek was only a word and we didn’t know what it meant. La greca was our decoration and nothing else. The forms we used though, reproducing flowers fruits or geometric signs, were part of the visual experience in our messy daily life, but these images were not as attractive as real pears or apples. We couldn’t eat them. I guess we discovered the images’ misery when they are not art. And in that time after World War II, we really were hungry.

Influence —I think it’s a sort of nourishment you take from other artists— it’s like the little sparrows, they are needy like that. When you’re young, you take in from a lot of sources; and afterwards, with all you’ve seen, you never know where it all comes from, where you stop and it begins.
—Annette Messager

Bibliography:

Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel, Essays on Reality and Imagination, New York, Vintage Book, 1942

Arthur Schnitzler, Relations et Solitudes, Aphorismes  Transl. from German by Pierre Deshusses, Paris, Rivage Poche, 1988

Annette Messager, Catalogue by Sheril Conkelton and Carol S. Eliel, Copyright © 1995 by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

WAR IN THE EYES


Northern Italy 1943-45

Uncle and Niece: ROSANNA and ALBERTO ALBERTINI

HUMAN EYES AND THE EYE OF A CAMERA

A Panzer IV of the Waffen SS "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" division in Milan, Piazza del Duomo, immediately after the German occupation that followed the September 8, 1943 armistice

A Panzer IV of the Waffen SS “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler” division in Milan, Piazza del Duomo, immediately after the German occupation that followed the September 8, 1943 armistice. (Wikipedia)

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Rosanna Albertini (niece) – I was born in the new days without war in an Italian village near Milano, and grew up with stories that nobody was able to forget so they were told over and over like an exorcism. For two years, before my living time began, the space between Milano and the Swiss border was a confused arena of bombing and killings. Large numbers of people were filling the streets, especially in Milan, manifesting collective feelings, raising their heads against military occupation and lack of jobs and food shortage.  To see the end of fascism in person was a way to become witnesses, to be sure there was an ending to bring home.

September 8, 1943, after the armistice, Milano was occupied by the German army.
April 25, 1944, under the directions of the partisan command of Northern Italy, Milan was liberated.
April 28,1945, Mussolini was arrested and killed. His collaborators had the same destiny.

I was an outcome of the war. By hope or by accident, I will never know. The doctor taking care of my mother’s pregnancy lived by the lake. Mother was eighteen. In no way our transportation could be safe: they still used horses and carts in December 1945: the horse was old, maybe the driver was drunk and the steep road toward the lake covered with ice. Despite the fact that details about the accident have been steadily hidden from me, I do know that I did do the first somersault of my life. I did not break from her body that day as the terrified members of my family expected. Christmas was approaching, I stayed warm where I was until the 28.

Alberto Albertini (my uncle) – In the early 1944, the dying regime tried to save little pockets of power. Placing blockades near the borders, for instance. Besano, our village, was four miles on a steep road up from Porto Ceresio, where the Swiss border starts, and the blockage was mid-way between the two villages. Because Besano’s city hall was in Porto Ceresio, to go to Porto we had to show a permit with identity photo. As I was the only one in the village doing photographs, I did portraits of everybody. I only saved a few of them. A curious thing: the blockage controllers were a special auxiliary police whose members, on April 25, merged into the partisan forces, as if such a decision were normal.
        The same happened with the customs officers. I was supposed to enlist with them exactly for this reason. I never did, the X hour struck. On the way home from Milan, I had to wait for the night to find a train. But I also wished for a lift from some truck. There was none. Not far from me, a bunch of young black shirts was hanging about. One of them was my age. I basically told him: ‘What a heck are you doing wearing a fascist uniform that is now against the law, when the war is lost and everything is falling apart? And the guy felt smart enough to tell me that his name was Felice Mascetti and he was happy (Felice) by name and by fact… when one has an idea! Comic and tragic facts followed. The guy was from Varese, he had tried to score with my girlfriend (I learned it when the news appeared) and died in a small fight against the partisans. The corps of fascism, already decayed, enlisted young and very young boys who might feel proud of themselves thanks to weapons and uniforms.

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Technological war-craft: making the camera for portraits.

For lack of money and tools Alberto adapted 35mm film to a 6×9 camera, borrowing parts from a cheap Ferrania.

  1. he added a plate adaptor, as if the 6×9 camera were a plate camera.
  2. made a 35mm drive in the Ferrania and a piece of wood pressing on the film to keep it in the right position.
  3. Then he made by hand a small, indented wooden spool connected to a spring, so that at every perforation he could hear a ‘tac’ while rolling the film.

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Post scriptum by RA

It is difficult to read those eyes. They drank the war darkness and maybe kept looking at the bottom of their glass. What do they bring to me, to us, in 2016? Do I see their pain because they are my tribe, from the village where I was born? Is this the same pain of all those who survived years of war? In Palestine, in Africa, in Afghanistan? Is ours a completely different time? There is a layer of photographic or filmic splendor in the war images we share  today. Even a video recently made by a Palestinian girl about life in her refugee camp in Jordan is just beautiful. Images versus reality? The homeless’ eyes around me in Los Angeles are not as desperate as my people’s. I don’t have an answer. A vague sense of real things in my guts tells me that the war eyes are still like the ones in the identity portraits made by Alberto. We don’t see them in the newspapers. Maybe we like better not to see them, to keep them out of our walls. More than ever we need artists, hands showing the real thing, creating a new visual grammar, and new words, tearing off the lies of illusions. 

The greenness of night lies on the page and goes
Down deeply in the empty glass. . .

Look, realist, not knowing what you expect.
The green falls on you as you look,

Falls on and makes and gives, even a speech.
And you think that that is what you expect,

That elemental parent, the green night,
Teaching a husky alphabet.

WALLACE STEVENS, Phosphor Reading by his Own Light – From: Parts of a World, 1942-1951
in Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems, New York, Vintage Books, 1990.

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Alberto Albertini using the camera he had built for the identity portraits.

 

PAPER WINGS and BRONZE DECOR

NAOTAKA HIRO 2012-2015 Los Angeles

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“The bronze piece is titled, Red Olive. It is a life cast of my right arm from chin to fingers, holding a testicle.  The testicle is painted red.” (Red Olive, 2015, bronze and acrylic paint, 24″ x 14″ x 12″)

“I had a bald spot back of my head, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, almost for a year.  It seems to have resulted from severe stress. Even though the spot was rather big, I didn’t notice it until a friend told me. In Japanese folklore there is a monster called futakuchi-onna: it is a woman with two mouths: one located on her face and the other on the back of the head, underneath her hair. Having her in mind I split open a face of my head-cast mask and cut a hole in the back. Then I stuck my head into the mask and breath through the hole.  I was interested in the shape, blackness of the pit, and, like a black hole, its unknowability and uncanny nature.” Naotaka Hiro.

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pencil, watercolor, 17" x 14" Courtesy of the artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pencil, watercolor, 17″ x 14″ Courtesy of artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pen, watercolor, 17" x 14" Courtesy of the artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pen, watercolor, 17″ x 14″ Courtesy of the artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015 Graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015  graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

 

“THERE MUST BE SOME WINGS ON WHICH TO FLY”* by Rosanna Albertini

Because humans do not have wings, and their minds are stuck in their bodies, they never cease questioning their own substance, the density of their thoughts like a fog over a buzzing busy hive of cells and organs, veins and pumps that we detect in biology books. Naotaka decided to dive into his own blindness, to visit images of the unknown carapace, of gestures, not to mention the invisible motion/emotion ejected through hands drawing without knowing, not really knowing what’s appearing in images a l’impromptu, and yet the artist doesn’t miss the spot he has found in some curves of his brain, creatures swimming or multiplying in chemical ponds. They are in him, not clear at all if they are him.

 

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen watercolor on paper

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

Naotaka Hiro started to send out of his body from fifteen to twenty drawings a day five years ago, when his son was born. As if proliferation couldn’t stop? And every new born on paper is “his double” —he says. A supernatural disease? A human trying to capture the most fleeting, indefinite motions of his being. Sheets of paper are not mirrors. Light, light shadows, grab them before they melt, before they harden in ideas, visions, words. Movement is their natural birth, coming from any part of the body, wrapping forms recalling exterior limbs having the same delicacy of the interior skins but forms are not right, they look free from bones like new branches sprouting from a tree not yet aware they will have bark and leaves one day. Images of these drawings forget they had been conceived in an organism, a place of functional cooperation.  They show us the mysterious story of inner impulses asking to emerge and then feeling surprised there is inhuman space out there; “there must be some wings on which to fly.” Rebellious and gregarious at the same time.

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 6" x 8.5"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 6″ x 8.5″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

Those papers the artist covers with colors and water and delicacy extreme could be wings of desire floating in his mind. Sculpted and drawn hands look like an alien presence, four fingers, not five.

The hand is a bronze thief that holds a red fruit picked up from sexual organs. Something that might. Rigid, its power is lost.

On paper, creatures of water find a presence which is not supposed to last, the birth of an instant stabbing the artist with the force of an instinct, defenseless, already becoming something else.

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without man feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy,
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches,
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

WALLACE STEVENS, Of Mere Being, in Opus Posthumous, 1990

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

* Wallace Stevens, Adagia, in Opus Posthumous, New York, Vintage Books, 1990.

OUT OF THE RIGHT PLACE

WHERE THE RIGHT PLACE IS AN ILLUSION:

LOS FELIZ
an art/film by Edgar Honetschläger, 2001-2016

by Rosanna Albertini

LOS FELIZ. The scroll has become a film, a Babel of spoken and visual stories sometimes shed like tears in the form of raindrops; images struck by sounds or submerged in silence, dragging fears and fights for control along with a deep sense of how meaningless they are. And yet LOS FELIZ is an art piece gnawed at its heart by desire. An art piece longing for a space in which BEAUTY escapes the torture of being used to seduce the public, and becomes lively and lovable in a pot of grass.

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The visual stream built by the artist stretches and transforms reminiscences of Edgar’s journey between three faraway pots of civilization: his personal experiences in Rome, Los Angeles and Tokyo. His own displacement in the back of his mind, he fills the screen with an undefined space of waiting, searching for and letting go, as if the few persons involved in the fictional trip were figures wrapped around an inner empty hole, measuring the distance that keeps them far from their own lives. Symbols, only looking like humans.

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I travel, instead, through the remains, I would say the ruins of his spiritual and intellectual digging for thirteen years into the solid ground of places and people, until he resets and expands in the now their visual presence through a different story, in a rarefied as well as imaginary world. The question: “Does what we see or understand have anything to do with things as they really are?” wears certainties away. I better avoid truth as a word. I can’t avoid seeing the display of episodes in and out the blue car like parts of a long painting, mostly gray: the remains of a feast on a long table, they make me think of André Derain’s late still lives.

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The image of the three ridiculous cardinals each standing on each other’s shoulders while turning the wheel of the entire story, shifting gears while not much happens in the characters’ inner journey, throws humor over the process. Guns and violence look as absurd as the false teeth of the prelate blocking the gears of a possible new story. Nonetheless, although feelings are vanished from the thread of the story, images and sounds hold on them, strongly.

(Looking at the next image try to imagine an orchestra of insects in summertime:)

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Writing itself, unfortunately, has driven the aforesaid paragraphs into the film logic. I don’t regret it because in LOS FELIZ the artist has embraced the film format in the first place, 102 minutes of a hybrid creature. As God is generated by it’s own name, a bunch of letters makes an absence. My head has been cut off, Edmond Jabès lent me his words for a short while. The world is sound, sound like a head. “Drive,” he says.
Emptiness is your face
Emptiness is your trip
You must carry the film as a sin.
He is talking to Edgar, and to me if I don’t stop writing about the film.
As if it were only a film. It’s also a piece of theater, using the backdrop of ‘miles’ of Edgar Honetschläger’s black and white drawings: the spare profile of the land of freedom as lonely as the universe. It’s a river of music and singing birds and silence and water merging into each other. Almost floating in time, a sequence of accidents in and out the blue car pretending to move from one station to another – the strongest illusion in LOS FELIZ – gives rise to a development that doesn’t go anywhere, very much like in Pat O’Neill’s experimental films. Since the beginning, the idea of a story (Deus ex machina) hovers over the blue little car like a flying stork holding a baby who won’t become an adult. Why the grass? “Oh, it’s NECESSARY,” says Edgar’s shinto goddess. “The necessary angel,” Wallace Stevens would say, and he corrects my Italian vision of angels with wings sitting on clouds. Life is a disturbing storm around, but the artist “merely enjoys existence.”

“The way we live and the way we work alike casts us out of reality.”

“I am the truth, since I am part of what is real, but neither more nor less than those around me. And I am imagination, in a leaden time and in a world that does not move for the weight of its own heaviness.”

Wallace Stevens spoke these words in 1943. Honetschläger’s feeling of flatness is the equivalent, today, of Stevens’ feeling of heaviness. In his art piece in motion LOVE, FAME, FATE become mirages. The more humans rush toward them, the farther away they move. After all, they are nothing but words.

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La vie est plus belle que les idées. Life is more beautiful than ideas. Music and sounds are stronger than words: they convey the infinite vibrations, sudden changes, weaknesses and pitches of living things; they adhere to the artist’s body like a second skin made by past and present others: beauty is sharing. As for images, beauty pervades them when they become flat bodies of a moment, sparkles of time asking our senses to embrace them and let them go, in a river of emptiness.

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Mineo Mizuno: WATER DREAMS: FLOWERS

THE SKIN OF A WHITE HOLE by Rosanna Albertini

They all dream of water: the clay, the flowers to be, and the artist who knows too well how life, the fluid substance of life, is more consistent and powerful than ideas. He has made ceramic objects and sculptures long enough to feel the voice of the clay in his fingers. It’s the empirical knowledge of the maker, but Mineo is Japanese despite his many years in Los Angeles, and his sculptural effort doesn’t go against the unstoppable change of every form which is alive. His agreement with reality makes him able to wrap his mind round the growth of leaves and branches, to merge his forms into the passage of seasons. If he must move, his art moves along with him.

He must create his unreal world out of what is real.” (Wallace Stevens)

Who told you matter is inert? I can see the cows who gave their bones to English factories to improve the whiteness and translucency of traditional porcelain; magma from earth’s belly thrown up by volcanos, crystals solidified in rocks, chemical weddings of mineral and animal bodies, and the china clay out of Kao-Ling’s crystals, called Kaolin from a Chinese hill mined for centuries so that Chinese porcelain could be made, and the European as well after a French Jesuit brought to Europe samples of Kaolin in the eighteenth century. There is a long story of migrations, of natural splashing, spitting and dealing with the atmosphere. Humans are part of it. Built up and eroded by space and time, our physical presence is so fragile that we seek protection in our thoughts, as if they weren’t part of the chemistry … and artists pour water on the dryness of words.

MINEO MIZUNO, FMR series 017, 2015.  Porcelain 13.5 x 21.75 x 13.5in. Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO, FMR series 017,  2015,  Porcelain  3.5 x 21.75 x 13.5in.
Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO, Mineo Mizuno, FMR series 018, 2015. Porcelain  7 x 20.5 x 7in. Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO,  FMR series 018, 2015, Porcelain 7 x 20.5 x 7in.
Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO, Mineo Mizuno, FMR series 004, 2015. Porcelain  7 x 15 x 7in. Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO, FMR series 004, 2015, Porcelain 7 x 15 x 7in.
Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO,   FMR series 010, 2015. Porcelain 10 x 20.5 x 10in. Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

MINEO MIZUNO, FMR series 010, 2015, Porcelain 10 x 20.5 x 10in.
Courtesy of the artist and Samuel Freeman Gallery

Porcelain time for Mineo. Bone China must bloom. Cow bones almost disappeared in contemporary clay. The newborn forms by Mineo will show their happiness with being free from industrial shapes and patterns of cups, plates, vases and  teapots spread everywhere by the liquid connection between continents, from the Etruscan to the British and Portuguese ages. The new forms are so irregular, their skin so thin and personal that I can’t avoid seeing them as bodies. “Don’t touch me, I can’t be used, I’m already a flower.” Yes? “But I’m credible, my maker made me so, maybe he is also credible, as poets are, don’t you know? A white hole keeps us clear, for mystery is far from us and you can see your flops of faith in each of us, we will never serve you. But pour your dreams in us, they will fly.”

“What the whole world could not contain, did Mary contain.” [A medieval saying] “There is more real sex in that one sentence than in all the so-called erotic literature ever penned. And it is exactly about the principle of matter, whose activity is fully and willingly to receive.” (in Dirt-The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, by William Bryant Logan, 1995)