January 21, 2019

el mirall són les meves mans

2ndheadanime.gif GRV_PEPESALES_2019.gif

Galerie Richard Vanderaa is located in the heart of Girona's thousand year old civic center. Richard specializes in Catalan abstraction of the 50's and 60's, a fascinating study of what was going on in that region, a light shown into the shadows of Antoni Tapies and Joan Brossa. Last fall, Richard sent me an email requesting art work for a festival related exhibition. Luckily, I happened to have a strange outlier piece in my studio in Tossa.

Richard's email:

In January / February 2019, the 12th edition of the Pepe Sales de Girona Festival (in honor of the artist Pepe Sales) will be dedicated to the figure of the surrealist poet and painter Yi Sang (Seoul, 1910 - Tokyo, 1937).

The festival organization invites its renowned artists every year to participate in a collective exhibition with a work based on a theme. This year the theme of this exhibition focuses on the poem El Espejo de Yi Sang and, therefore, that the support of all the works of the exhibition is a mirror, in any format, faithful to curiosity and self - restlessness of the poem

The festival organization has invited me to participate and I will do it, but regardless of its programming. What I am interested in is to organize a parallel exhibition, with the same theme but with artists of a different size and that is why I have thought about you and therefore, I wanted to ask if you would be interested in participating.

It would try to create a work with a mirror as a base and from here ... total freedom. In the affirmative case (which I hope so) I would like to have the work before the end of the year. The exhibition was inaugurated on January 25, 2019, lasting 3 to 4 weeks.
Attached the poem El Mirall (translated in Spanish) by Yi Sang and the spot on the website of the festival here.

Thank you very much for your attention and I hope you can count on you.

My response:

... here are my impressions after learning more about YI SANG and reading his poetry...

His work and biography is a wonderful and surprising revelation for me! I had not known anything at all about him previous to your email. Kudos to the art and intellectual community in Girona and Catalunya for spritely subtlety and cosmopolitain interests! After reading his poem, the final lines, his meditation about suicide reminded me tenderly of my father, who fought in the Korean War and who sadly, very sadly, turned to suicide after suffering post traumatic stress disorder (uncontrollable flashbacks to a battle 50 years earlier in the Pusan Peninsula that killed all but 14 of his company of 289 men). I pause now and worry a little about saying too much.

To learn as well after researching Sang's biography, that he was an architect (as I am too) and the kind of artist who wrestled with digesting the impact of the fragmentation of modernity, well, this only made me want to learn more. The world of poetry is largely unmapped territory for me, I remain humble when I am exposed to it, but I found "El Espejo" to be generous and expansive and it left me wanting to know more....

..Now, I have a specific work in mind, a pair of pieces that lies outside my usual oeuvre. (Images attached below) Two heads....

...Here is my argument as to why I think that they fit the theme of the festival and Sang's poem in particular: I intuitively felt the urge to make a head, sculpted out of cardboard, working fast with blades, scissors and glue. It's important for an artist to concretize intuition no matter where it goes. I made the first one two years ago, more or less. Last summer, I made another one, thinking that I would continue making more periodically until some day in the future when I could have a wall of them, perhaps a whole gallery, who knows? Last summer, I started to rationalize my intuition, thinking about Bataille's Acephale, reversing him, turning the revolution of art history onto itself like a tornillo forward into a future. Specific to Sang's mirror, I modeled the heads on my head, using my hands as a metric, a measuring device to be as faithful in terms of verisimilitude as the crude instrument would let me be. With my hand to my face, the base of the palm touches my chin, the tip of my middle finger touches my widow's peak, both hands over my head touching middle fingers, my thumbs to my ears, defines half the circumference of my scull. Etc, etc. Without glass, my hands are my mirror, a mirror without glass, a reflection of flesh.

***

el mirall són les meves mans
the mirror are my hands

Posted by Dennis at January 21, 2019 5:09 PM

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