domingo, 29 de julho de 2012

Manuel Casimiro

Manuel Casimiro, L'univers des Orientalistes (art book), 2012

Flying gestalt

I know Manuel Casimiro work for thirty-years now. He paints, he does sculptures and installations and occasionally accepts commissions for designing objects. In all his works there's a common seme that he calls the ovoid. It is an ovoid form indeed, but not as biomorphic as it is supposed to be. To my mind it has more of a void sign than of an egg shape. Sometimes it looks like a discus, in other pictures more of a flying saucer, or a stain. I also associate this operative gestalt manipulated by MC over his artworks as a black hole, a negative vortex that can swallow the image that it reveals on the surface. It is this complexity that gives formal powers to Casimiro's original approach to existing artworks and artifacts as an ideal locus for ready-made operations.

It is also true that MC applies his famous ovoid to original artworks created by him from the start. But in this particular trend I have to suspend my judgment. I see the ovoid as a pattern and as a cultural interference — and that's what I love about that flying gestalt.

A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Manuel Casimiro's atelier. Excellent wines, I must confess, we tasted! But I also had the opportunity to see a new ovoid operation; black and gold paint on a glossy and heavy book by Gérard-Georges Lemaire titled L'Univers des Orientalistes.

It is an impressive work. Not exactly un livre d'artiste, but more of a capsule for a voyage in time, from the industrial offset book printing to a medieval handmade illumination.

I would like to see this rectified ready-made in a clean white cube soon.

Manuel Casimiro, L'univers des Orientalistes (art book), 2012

Manuel Casimiro, L'univers des Orientalistes (art book), 2012

Manuel Casimiro, L'univers des Orientalistes (art book), 2012

Manuel Casimiro, L'univers des Orientalistes (art book), 2012

Manuel Casimiro, L'univers des Orientalistes (art book), 2012

sexta-feira, 20 de julho de 2012

The syndrome of Alfred Leslie

Who's Alfred Leslie? 

Alfred Leslie (b.1929) and Robert Frank (b.1924)
Pull My Daisy, 28 min., 16mm (1959)
Made with writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Pull My Daisy is a 1959 short film, a classic look at the soul of the beat generation. It starred Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, Peter Orlovsky, David Amram, Richard Bellamy, Alice Neel, Sally Gross and Pablo, Frank's then-infant son. Pull My Daisy is recognized as one of the most important works of avant-garde cinema — in Virtual Circuit.

Back in 1989 I draw and painted several red sentences on paper, that I named propositional images. One of these sentences says: The syndrome of Alfred Leslie. These propositional images are either enigmatic, nasty or funny. A few weeks ago a potential buyer of these drawing-paintings asked me what was the meaning of "the syndrome of Alfred Leslie". I was speechless because I couldn't remember any more why I did compose that sentence!

Now I remember: Alfred Leslie is a living American artist almost unknown in the art world though he has been a crucial presence in the core of such cultural moments in America as the abstract expressionism, the beat generation and even pop art. He's biography says, “born in the Bronx, New York, on October 20, 1927, multidisciplinary artist Alfred Leslie gained notice in the postwar period on the strength of his early abstract paintings, later figurative works, and independent films. An outgoing personality with close ties to Abstract Expressionist artists, Leslie turned his studio into a lively gathering place for New York’s avant-garde.”

Alfred Leslie. Telephone Call, 1971
Alfred Leslie.The Accident,1969-70
From abstraction to urban and almost photo-realism, from beat to pop. Alfred Leslie longevity has not been enough to give him the front pages in art exhibitions and magazines as he surely deserves from at least an historical point of vue. What is missing? Some name this accident as being just behind the curve. I call it Alfred Leslie syndrome.

Alfred Leslie. Casey Key, 1976
Alfred Leslie. Brenna Gordon, 1976
Alfred Leslie. Laura Apastalou, 1976

Alfred Leslie website

domingo, 8 de julho de 2012

Single coin

Mining gold in Indonesia. The value of gold measures its unique qualities, its rarity and above all the amount of work needed to get it! Photo © unknown

Is there anything beyond reality? Well, yes: death!

Title: Single coin
Head: a gold coin with my mother’s image and an algorithm.
Deck: art and money were born the same year — speculation on a single coin.
Lead: art and money have found themselves in the same deadlock. So if we want to save money we have to save art as well, and the other way around: if we want to save art we have to imagine a new protocol for love and for value exchange too. Accumulation has always been a menace for societies, and the thin air of debt is even worse. We happen to be already inside a new cave — kind of a run-out of fuel spaceship. Big time for smart guys and for the artists too!

What does valuable money mean? Trust! How can we rebuild trust once we have jeopardised it on bad bets? Can we do it without a deep symbolic reconstruction of the Self? Can we accomplish that necessary reconstruction without coming up with a new image, and a new narrative about fair exchange and love?

Let’s begin with a new memory tale about genes, motherhood and Gaia, and for this purpose let us discuss technology, what we know about knowledge, conscience and reality.

Cognitive art is something new. It means that post-contemporary artists either need a substantial body of logic knowledge, and proficiency in more than one formal language, be it a classical discipline of Academia (Physics, Mathematics, Biology, History, and so on) or some sort of computational cocktail, or he or she will stay somehow off tune and loosing the main conversation that is going on among the new post-contemporary art practitioners. My point of view on this particular issue though is that in the end if we expect artists to create artworks this still means techne (τέχνη). Cognitive representation without craftsmanship and holism, is not art. The difficulty though is to know where does conventional knowledge, technology and science stops to aesthetic representation begins. I am since the last two years in the mental process of conceiving a new form of local currency, of symbolic bartering. In the end I will have to design, model and mint a new coin that may respond to the huge collapse of trust that is presently destroying so many things we cherish for so long. It is not a practical solution I am working on though. It is a cognitive-symbolic one! In the beginning money and art were the same trade. I’m wandering the way back to Paradise.

Obs: this is a keynote to the 12th Consciousness Reframed International Research Conference, presented at Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisboa, on December 1st, 2011.

Copyright © 2011 by António Cerveira Pinto

The following is a collage of previous texts of mine revised and edited for this seminar and a theoretical background for the ongoing art project, Single coin.