On the floor of a very poorly lighted space, a network of fabric tubes carry power to a system of spot lights mounted extremely close to the surfaces of six paintings that hang, otherwise, simply on the walls of the gallery.
Clown noses are strapped to the surface of the paintings as to be well exposed to the heat of the lights. One could establish the parodic contents of red noses, as Gaston Bachelard somewhere proposes, on the effects of alcoholic intoxication, and certain manifestations of fire that take on the purely burning energies of the being alive.
One can trace the origin of the images to a series of characteristics that are explicitly generic and belong to a collection of personal or private notes. Like all notes, they issue, in a very compact way, their ideological promise. As an economy reduced simply to the sucinct communication of information, they have no other goals, they completely disregard all aspects of their own production.
...I know you. I don't doubt that behind your latest interests there's a dialectical structure that justifies them. Am I right?
Oh, no! (laughters) When I showed "Taken by the Hand" at the California Institute of The Arts all pointed indexically to a practice that very often, if not always, precedes and guides almost all painting production. I wanted to catch up a strict preliminary moment...
...but the result was a work very rooted to a painting tradition, no?
Yes, that's true, but the goal of this choice was to put on stage the irony of an ultimate intention, the assisted resuscitation, a bit Frankenstinian I should say, of a painting tradition, better known as New Figuration, that showed up in contemporary art, and was very criticized at that moment by the defenders of the avantgarde, specially by hard core militants amongst who I would mention Joseph Kosuth as its main ideological propagator.
During the eighties, Kosuth didn't take well the fortunate careers of the artists of the New Figuration. What did he critiqued of that situation in the US?
In 1982 Kosuth wrote an article in the May issue of ARTFORUM with the title Necrophilia Mon Amour. On that article he criticized very harshly the lack of dialectic relevance coming from the work of the young artists of that generation, and the scandalous fact that they built a multimillion economy from the popular sale of their work. What turned out funny to me was the comparison he borrowed from clinical pathology, his use of the term necrophilia that, at the end, resulted in a description that almost succeeded in presenting a new, and very well paid profession. At least, it seemed that, if one followed carefully his instructions, one could very well stage it.
What do you mean by stage it?
After reading the article one was left with the sensation that one could turn oneself easily into a necrophiliac. (everyone laughs)
Are you serious?
In any case, everyone felt that we had gone to a funeral. From then on, one question remained unanswered. Which was the status of fiction and imagination in the production of conceptual art? What role fantasy had on the hard core of this ideology?
(the interview continues here)