“All art is political”

The first encounter with his work was back in 2008 at the Mission of Chile to the United Nations at meetings I attended there. “A Logo for America”, a flag of the United States made up of lightbulbs turning on and off and flashing the words “this is not America” within the american flag, displayed like a mantra in Times Square in New York. A few years after I saw “A Logo for America”, it flashed up again at midnight one night in August 2014. I started following Jaar ever since, impressed by his ethic and his aphorisms: “All art is political”, ”All art has a critical dimension; when it doesn’t, it’s decoration”.

Jaar, more than just an artist is a dedicated activist for human rights. One of his more political and conceptual installations is the “Rwanda Project”, first exhibited in New York City in 1998. The project took place during the period of 1994-2000. This work of art evokes the place and the specificity of the deaths in the Rwanda Genocide, like the establishing shots of contemporary landscapes in Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah. It shows how the genocide occurred and how bodies flowed down rivers. It’s a representation of an ethical and aesthetic project with a very strong emotional charge. The text tells that over a five month period in 1994, more than one million Rwandans, mostly members of the Tutsi minority, were systematically slaughtered as the world closed its eyes to genocide”. This is how the exhibition begins. The text concludes by emphasizing the strong impression made upon the artist by the eyes of this witness, “the eyes of Guetete Emerita”. “Rwanda Project” wanted to create a volume that represented approximately one million slides, in reference to the one million dead in Rwanda. If Jaar’s 35 mm slides were made into a film it would be over 11 hours long.

But the most provocative and memorable work Alfredo Jaar has produced, is the first part of “The Sound of Silence” in 1995. An installation focusing on the life of the South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, a story about an individual photograph and its impact, and also a story about representation and its unequal effects. An astonishingly moving work on all sorts of levels. The New York Times art’s critic said: “using human tragedy as an artistic readymade has definite pros and cons. Relevance is usually guaranteed; the heartstrings are likely to be pulled” , Jaar’s work raises questions about the relationship between photography and representation; between the medium and its political implications. In a context where reality television shows and web-casting purport to democratize the means of representation. Jaar’s practice is a reminder of the growing gulf between actual representation and its fake imitations.

But the artist’s work involves much more than installations. Rather than showing in museums, his public interventions happen in more political and socially engaged contexts. They involve communities, work with other artists in collaborations, such as in Catia, Venezuela. In Catia, the poorest area of the city of Caracas, an area of the city where there are no cultural institutions his camera became a tool to show a reality. He created a protect called “Camera Lucida” in this impoverished neighborhood where he distributed 1,000 disposable cameras and went to thirty-seven different local institutions, like hospitals and schools to distribute the cameras and explain the project that would later become an exhibition of the photos.

Another social and educational project of Jaar’s took place in Finland where he worked with philosophers and intellectuals and put on show their letters all over Helsinki, with ideas about the brilliant educational system employed there.

After studying few of Jaar’s work, I wondered, what are the boundaries between social interventions and art? And as Jaar himself said one time when he quoted Jean Luc Godard: “It might be true that you have to choose between ethics and aesthetics. But it is also true that whichever one you choose, you will always find the other one at the end of the road. Because the definition of the human condition is in the mise en scène itself ” and then added “I don’t see any difference between ethics and aesthetics, I believe everything we do is political”.

Image by photojournalist Kevin Carter
*This is an essay I wrote for the European Graduate School admission.

who knows if the moon’s a balloon

who knows if the moon’s
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky–filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where

always
it’s
Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves

E.E.Cummings

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Rilke

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
Letters To  A Young Poet -Rainer Maria Rilke

hopper4.3Excursion Into Philosophy by Edward Hopper

To wait

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“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: 

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

Here is T. S. Eliot, warning us that in the darkness we must wait, that we must surrender, not to inaction, but to NOT KNOWING. Here is the secret. That is the universal solvent to our spiritual journey. To wait. 

(Poem is an extract from the Four Quartets)

Solar eclipse, Berlin, Friday 20 MarchSolar_1 (1) 2

Brassaï and the underground

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“The real night people, however, live at night not out of necessity, but because they want to. They belong to the world of pleasure, of love, vice, crime, drugs. A secret, suspicious world, closed to the uninitiated….I felt at the time that this underground world represented Paris at its least cosmopolitan, at its most alive, its most authentic, that in these colorful faces of its underworld there had been preserved, from age to age, almost without alteration, the folklore of its most remote past.” brassai 2 brassai brassai36

for us there is only the trying.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

T.S. Eliot

Art: Galatea of the Spheres. Salvador Dalí
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“Learning How to Forget” : Master Duchamp

That’s what Duchamp said in a recent publication of interviews Calvin Tomkins did in the ’60’s. 
When I was talking to a friend the other night he mentioned he’s interested and currently investigating the moment or lapse that happens immediately after listening to inspiring music and the visualization of that moment before the mind intervenes. I find it similar to what Duchamp said. Marcel Duchamp said he was “learning how to forget, basically to escape from the prison of tradition”, and he wanted to unlearn how to draw. He said Matisse had to systematically unlearn how to draw to be able to produce the work he did. Its about decoding the mind. 

Is it possible to learn how to forget?, to forget how we are thought at school?, how we “normally” react to situations?, how we think?.  Can we do this?. Suddenly, when I think about it, I feel so light and so good. The capacity of forgetting is linked to Freedom, to the possibility of renewal and reinvention of the being and of becoming a child, a creative being once again.

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Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

Worth sharing just a few images of a great show at the Guggenheim. Using mostly Painting as a medium, here he represents the human environment and cultural references.
This paintings, photographs and works in paper are mainly monochrome and large.
His work is passionate and very inspiring; he is definitely one of the great painters of this era.

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Open Studios: Saturday October 26th from 2-7 at PointB -Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Come!

   Open Studios

 
Saturday, October 26, 2pm-7pm
 

SANDRA PARKER

 

ROSE EKEN

JILL ANDERSON

 

CAROLINA SEVILLA

 

MICHAEL MORK

MONICA FERRERAS

RUTH CAMPAU

GRAHAM PARKER

 

AND A PERFORMANCE BY RAZOR HOPE

Please join us this Saturday afternoon at the PointB Worklodge to see and hear what our October Lodgers are up to.

71 North 7th St.
Williamsburg

Toyo Ito

Just got to know about Toyo Ito, architect awarded with the 2013 Pritzker Prize and creator of the original “Home for All Project”, designed to help communities after the tsunami in Japan in 2011, a project created to give relief to the housing problem in the area and which considers integrating the natural environment, taking into account the history and weather conditions of the zone with a kind of anti modernist approach and design.

For example The Sendai Mediatheque, one of his important projects, survived the effects of the earthquake as here he and his team invented a system of bundled steel tubes instead of the traditional columns.

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He took into account elements as water, in a virtual and physical way. As he points out, water is like the internet: that fluid water that links us to the world.

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His goal is to create communal spaces and contribute to create a “new kind of new society”. At the Mediatheque he used an AC system that may be compared to the biological activities of a tree and he used natural light as one of the main characteristics for this design.

Toyo Ito and Associates offices

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The Sendai Mediatheque its a project that he worked on for 6 years that embodies the proposal for a completely new concept of architecture. The complex includes mediatheque, an art gallery, a library, an information service center for people with visual and hearing impairments and a visual image media center. during the open competition and subsequent phase of basic designing, the primary effort was on demolishing the archetypal ideas of an art museum or library to reconstruct a new idea of architecture called ‘mediatheque’ utilizing the state-of-the-art media.
This process of reconstructing the architectural concepts as he points out “not only extended to hardware but to software as well”.

Facing side of the Sendai Mediatheque

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3rd floor of the Mediatheque

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One Night Gallery- Poetic Color

I opened the doors of my Studio last night at PointB, the place where I live in Brooklyn, New York. I got the opportunity to show my paintings and prose with other 4 artists, each one showing their work at their studios.
My favorite moment: when I got to read the prose to my friends.

Thanks, thanks and thanks to all the friends who came. It’s going to be up for a while.

Bellow, some my work exhibited.

POETIC COLOR.

Color is an element that empowers the Soul. Poetry, the articulation of that “Soul”.

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Drums of Joy, 2013. Acrylics. 36″ x 18″ 20130726-112624.jpg

Grounded Crown, 2013. Acrylics, Gouache and Oil on Canvas.20130726-112749.jpg

We are specialists. 2013. Acrylics, Gouache and Oil on Canvas.20130726-112759.jpg

Ojos. (Eyes) 2013. Acrylics20130726-112809.jpg

Glow, 2013. Acrylics20130726-112819.jpg

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Poetas Ocultos. (Hidden Poets) 2013, Acrylics. 36″ x 18″20130726-123517.jpg

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I SEEM TO BE A VERB

“Here is God’s purpose –
for God to me, it seems,
is a verb
not a noun,
proper or improper;
is the articulation
not the art, objective or subjective;
is loving,
not the abstraction “love” commanded or entreated;
is knowledge dynamic,
not legislative code,
not proclamation law,
not academic dogma, nor ecclesiastic canon.”

I’m currently reading “Starting with the Universe” a book dedicated to the life and work of “Bucky Fuller”- as he was known and called by his friends- who was an extraordinary architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.

Fuller, the creator of the Geodesic- Dome and many other structures, frequently used geometry and geological concepts. His aim was to create living environments that minimized consumption of the earth’s resources while maximizing interconnections with global systems of information and transportation.

His quotes are all remarkable but his ones are my favorites:

“Dare to be naïve”

“Don’t fight forces, use them”.

“Love is a metaphysical gravity”

(These are photos I took of the book I have).

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JonOne // abstract -street art -style // cool // inspiration //

“John “JonOne” Perello grew up in Harlem where graffiti and tags were seen in everyday life. Nowadays, JonOne has structured his work from the streets of New York to the “limitations” of canvas (some extremely large) and he now fancy more brushstrokes than air sprays.

However, even though we can see some inspirations coming from Jackson Pollock, Jean Dubuffet or even Henri Matisse, the street is still very much there.

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His extremely colorful paintings remind us of the frenzy of large cities, of their bright lights and social codes. JonOne’s work is an allegory of the Urban Jungle in which most of us live, but always seen from the optimist and colorful side of life.”

check him out!!!!

http://www.jonone.moonfruit.com

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Richard Buckminster Fuller

The global technology innovation company Philips designs and showcases a spectacular lighting design of the Fly’s Eye Dome, a monumental work of the visionary architect and American inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller.

At nightfall, with Philips LED solutions, this geodesic dome in the heart of the pink city in Port-Viguerie,- on the occasion of the International Festival of Art of Toulouse, held in Toulouse from May 24- June 23rd 2013- changes, sets in motion and comes to life. Color contrasts and shade and light effects offer visitors a new interpretation of this visionary prototype of what Fuller described as “an Autonomous Dwelling Machine”.

She Shouts

I’m lyin’ down thinkin’ ’bout you

I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout you

Do you think about me still? Do ya, do ya?

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Or do you not think so far ahead?

‘Cause I been thinkin’ ’bout forever (Oooh, oooh)

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Yes, of course I remember, how could I forget?

How you feel?

And though you were my first time

A new feel

It won’t ever get old, not in my soul

Not in my spirit, keep it alive

We’ll go down this road’Til it turns from color to black and white.

Lyrics: Frank Ocean <——->Art: Keith Haring

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“Only a lunatic…

“Only a lunatic would think that art is superior to nature.”
― Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

For years I heard a good friend saying: does art creates nature or nature creates art?. I was very young and very confused about this philosophical question. Inside of me I definitely felt it’s Nature who creates art. Today, I was looking at quotes for inspiration to write about something and I found this one from a fabulous writer I discovered through Tania my friend who lives in Barcelona who’s a very special and inspiring woman. This quote opened my eyes and gave me a relief. I know Nature is superior to everything, even art. It’s my mirror, it’s my salvation. Today, I hope to have a re encounter with our mother earth. Going away for a few nights for a green revival.

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*****How much do I owe you? at “No Longer Empty” in Queens *****

I visited “How Much Do I Owe You?” at “No Longer Empty” now located at the Clock Tower in Long Island City, Queens. The former Bank of Manhattan building opened its doors, vaults and even illuminated The Clock Tower to host an ambitious site-specific exhibition.

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This exhibit explores the new iterations of currency, value and exchange at this time of financial flux, growing debt and job insecurity.Inspired by the Bank building and the surrounding neighborhood, 26 artists from 15 countries confront these issues and how they are negotiated in the workforce, housing market, and in the every day.

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GHOST OF A DREAM -GUERRA DE LA PAZ. (WAR OF PEACE IN ENGLISH) The handshake symbolized a convey, a pact without weapons, in times where ethic is in question.

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Excellently curated by Manon Slome, this exhibition has a variety of media: from sound installations, projections, and film to installations and large scale sculptures.

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THE PRICE OF HAPPINESS – Made with discarded US and Chinese lottery tickets and Buddhist afterworld money. Created after long deliberation and research about what people dream if they win the lottery.

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Isamu Noguchi

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Isamu Noguchi, born in Los Angeles, was one the the most acclaimed sculptor of the 20th Century. I had the pleassure to see his work at his museum and former studio yesterday with my friend Iside, located in Long Island City.
He created the most amazing scultures made out of the most diverse materials: bronze, stainless steel, marble, cast iron, basalt, granite, water and more.
His pieces have a modern and abstract air infused with lyrical expressions and a mystery aura. He did many collaborations in the world of art including dance/coreographers Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, composer John Cage, and architect Louis Kahn. He created playgrounds, furniture, lightning designs and public works woldwide.

Mondrian- Tableau no. 2 – MOMA

“He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors”
Mondrian’s art was intimately related to his spiritual and philosophical studies as he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Madame Blavatsky). After, he joined the Dutch branch of the Theosophical Society. The work of Blavatsky significantly affected the further development of his aesthetic. Much of Mondrian’s work for the rest of his life was inspired by his search for that spiritual knowledge.

Mondrian- Tableau no. 2 - MOMA

Las cosas que nunca dijimos

Son las 9, es noche de invierno en la ciudad hace mucho frío. Paso frente a hoteles, las calles pobladas. Fuerte vacío. Luces brillantes me gritan miles de sonidos. Cuántas historias, cuántos amantes, rostros anónimos, todos desconocidos. Pero tengo uno que otro recuerdo!, quizás tu regreses? Un desafío. Memorias desprevenidas, un constante delirio. La lluvia afuera, las gotas de agua son tantas como las cosas que nunca dijimos. Lo de nosotros es la música y el ron como tu dices, a eso quedo reducido. Nos gusta lo mismo, ya sabes, el toque y lo divertido, pero hasta eso está destruído. Así como los lugares a los que nunca fuimos.

Hoy hay sol

Todos estan desayunando, toman jugo. Yo decido: me llevo un libro y armo una tienda gitana. Me acuesto en la arena blanca, cierro los ojos. Soy viajera con mis sentidos. Mi cabello negro está caliente. El sonido del mar relaja y el viento pasa por todo mi cuerpo. Mi sexo está libre, mis músculos se contraen. Este horno se me sale por los poros. Mi cuerpo está drogado por el Sol. Armadillos, caracoles y sombras. El Sol me esta mordiendo con una furia de alacranes. Entreabro los ojos y puedo ver el brillo de un mar luminoso. Un botón de despegue, un gruñido, un swing. No puedo pensar.

El hombre imaginario- Nicanor Parra

El hombre imaginario
vive en una mansión imaginaria
rodeada de árboles imaginarios
a la orilla de un río imaginario

De los muros que son imaginarios
penden antiguos cuadros imaginarios
irreparables grietas imaginarias
que representan hechos imaginarios
ocurridos en mundos imaginarios
en lugares y tiempos imaginarios

Todas las tardes imaginarias
sube las escaleras imaginarias
y se asoma al balcón imaginario
a mirar el paisaje imaginario
que consiste en un valle imaginario
circundado de cerros imaginarios

Sombras imaginarias
vienen por el camino imaginario
entonando canciones imaginarias
a la muerte del sol imaginario

Y en las noches de luna imaginaria
sueña con la mujer imaginaria
que le brindó su amor imaginario
vuelve a sentir ese mismo dolor
ese mismo placer imaginario
y vuelve a palpitar
el corazón del hombre imaginario