Thursday, December 30, 2010


* Video Broadband
* Video 56k

The book Abeceda (Alphabet) is a composite of experimental poetry, modern dance, graphic design and photomontaged typography, based on a poem by Vitĕzslav Nezval in the order of the letters of the Latin alphabet. Each double page features a set of quatrains facing a sometimes abstracted letter composed of typographic elements and a photograph of the dancer Milca Mayerova.

Nezval wrote the poem in the late 1922, inspired by ‘the intellectual gymnastics afforded by poetry’s most immediate object: letters’. He concentrated on letters primarily for their visual suggestiveness. Thus, the opening line to many quatrains focuses on an image from which he then develops his themes and associations. ‘A’, for example, is introduced as a ‘simple hut’, ‘C’ as the

Mayerova based her choreography, consisting of about three to four poses per quatrain, on Nezval’s verses rather than conceiving an independent interpretation. For ‘H’, she figures the simple act of respiration described in the text. Her pose has also been read as a ‘triumphant step of an emancipated “modern woman” in the parlance of the time’. Mayerova’s outfit, a dark, sleeveless top and shorts with a stripe on both sides, topped by a tightly fitted cap of the same design, furthers heightens this emphasis. The photographs by Karel Paspa record one pose each, matching with the line of the poem that provides the visual association for each letter.

In his seminal credo Moderní Typo (Modern Typography),
Karel Teige remarks, ‘In Nezval’s Abeceda, a cycle of rhymes based on the shapes of letters, I tried to create a “typofoto” of a purely abstract and poetic nature, setting into graphic poetry what Nezval set into verbal poetry in his verse, both being poems evoking the magic signs of the alphabet’.

In his layout Teige respects the integrity of the text, but also plays with it, as well as with photographs of the dancer and the letters themselves. He was not trying to illustrate the words through images or typography, but instead to foster a similarly poetic dialogue between text and images. The entire project thereby explored the relationships between verbal and visual art, industrial technology and mass media in a new way.

Murayama Tomoyoshi

Tomoyoshi Murayama (村山知義, Murayama Tomoyoshi?, 18 January 1901–22 March 1977) was a Japanese artist, playwright and drama producer active during the Showa period of Japan.

Murayama was born in the Kanda Suehiro district of Tokyo. His father, who was a medic in the Imperial Japanese Navy, died when he was nine years old. His mother became a fervent Christian after having been converted by Uchimura Kanzo, and was active in the pacifist movement. Murayama was initially encouraged towards watercolors and traditional Japanese painting, but was later drawn to philosophy, particularly the works of German philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. He converted to Christianity himself after being assaulted by fellow students for echoing his mother's pacifist views.

Murayama entered Tokyo Imperial University in 1921 with the intention of studying philosophy, but soon left to study art and drama at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. Initially drawn to the genre of Constructivism as typified by the work of Wassily Kandinsky, he later became dissatisfied with the detachment of Constructivism from reality and developed his own style by using a collage of real objects to provoke concrete associations. He coined this method ‘conscious constructivism’, which was known as MAVO. The “Mavoists” sought to eliminate the boundaries between art and daily life, and rebelled against convention by combining industrial products with painting or printmaking in a collage. Protests against social injustice were portrayed by use of theatrical eroticism, which also mocked public morality.

As part of his efforts to bring art into everyday reality, Murayama and others helped design the Aoikan movie theater in Akasaka, Tokyo. He occasionally designed the cover of the theater's pamphlets.

On his return to Japan, Murayama introduced both expressionist and constructivist art, but was drawn more toward the modern theatre, especially the proletarian theatre movement of the 1920s. He applied many of the same techniques and aesthetic modes from his paintings into the realm of drama, including elements from German expressionism, dadaism, futurism and other avant-garde European movements. He wrote and produced Marxist-inspired versions of Robin Hood and Don Quixote.
[edit] Pre-war period

In 1929, Murayama greatly alarmed the authorities by producing a drama glorifying a 1923 incident on the Jingguang railway in China, where Chinese communist labor union leaders incited their disgruntled workers to riot, and in the ensuing mob violence, murdered the railway managers and sabotaged the equipment before being violently suppressed by the military.

In May 1930, Murayama was arrested on violation of the Peace Preservation Laws, and was released on December. In May 1931, he joined the Japan Communist Party. This led to his arrest again in April 1932 in the middle of a dress rehearsal. He was only released on probation in March 1934 after recanting his political views and agreeing to disperse his theatrical company. In May, he published a novel, Byakuya ("White Night") serialized in the literary magazine Chuo Koron. However, he soon returned to the theatre, producing a dramatization of Shimazaki Toson's Yoake no mae ("Before the Dawn") in November 1934. He quickly followed this with numerous other works over the next couple of years, including efforts to revitalize the genre of shimpa and to produce new forms of kabuki. Murayama was known for his outspokenness against Japanese militarism and against censorship, which again drew official wrath. He was again arrested in August 1940, released on bail in June 1942, and re-sentenced in 1944. In 1945, while released on probation, he went to Korea, and in July 1945, he went to Manchukuo.

In December 1945, after the end of World War II, Murayama returned to Japan. In February 1946, he formed a new theatrical company. However, the company was rent by politics, internal dissention and police issues with the Communist sympathies of a number of its members. In 1959, Murayama restructured it into the Tokyo Art Troupe, which he led overseas in a tour of China and Korea in 1960 and 1966. Murayama also participated in the formation of the Japan Democratic Literature Alliance in 1965, serving as its vice chairman for several years. In his later years, he devoted his energies to publishing compilation of plays, writing an autobiography and continuing to fight for intellectual freedom.

IMAGE: Florian Pumhösl at Kunstverein Dusseldorf

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

G. Agamben - Notes on Gesture

Image: Thinking of Niagara, Niagara (1997) a movie on Tourette's syndrome and the end of bourgeois!

G. Agamben - Notes on Gesture

From Giorgio Agamben's book:
Infancy and History - The Destruction of Experience

By the end of the nineteenth century the gestures of the Western bourgeoisie were irretrievably lost.

In 1886 Gilles de la Tourette, formerly an intern at the Paris Hospital and the Salpetriere, had his Etudes cliniques et physi-ologiques sur la marche published by Delahaye and Lecrosnier. Never before had one of the most common human gestures been analysed according to strictly scientific methods. Fifty-three years earlier, when the bourgeoisie was still; untouched by scruples of conscience, the project of a general pathology of social life heralded by Balzac had produced naught but the fifty - when all was said and done, disappointing - pages of the Theorie de la demarche. Nothing discloses the distance - not only a temporal distance - which separates the two approaches as much as the description Gilles de la Tourette gives of a human step. Where Balzac saw only an expression of moral character, here the gaze at work is already prophetic of the cinema:

With the leg as support, the right foot is raised from the ground in a rolling motion from the heel to the tips of the toes, which are the last part to be lifted away: the whole leg is brought forward, and the foot touches down at the heel. At this moment, the left foot, which has completed its roll and now rests only on the tips of the toes, in turn leaves the ground; the left leg is carried forward, moves closely alongside the right leg and goes past it, and the left foot touches the ground at the heel just as the right is finishing its roll forward.1

Only an eye endowed with a vision of this kind could formulate the footprint method, which Gilles de la Tourette sets out so boldly to perfect. A roll of white wallpaper, around seven or eight metres long and fifty centimetres wide, is nailed to the floor and split in half lengthwise with a penciled line. In the experiment the soles of the subject's feet are then sprinkled with powdered iron sesquioxide, which gives them a nice rust-red colour. The footprints left by the patient walking along the guiding line enable the gait to be measured with perfect precision according to different parameters (length of stride, distance breadthwise, angle of downward pressure, etc.).

If we study the reproductions of the footprints published by Gilles de la Tourette, we cannot fail to be reminded of the various series of split-second photographs that Eadweard Muybridge made in those very same years at the University of Pennsylvania, using a battery of twenty-four cameras. The 'man moving at a walking pace', the 'man running with a rifle', the 'woman walking and picking up a jug', the 'woman walking and blowing a kiss' are the visible and fortunate twins of those sick and anonymous creatures who have left these traces.

A year before the walking studies, Tourette had published his Etude sur une affection nerveuse caracterisee par de ['incoordi­nation motrice accompagnee d'echolalie et de coprolalie, which was to provide the clinical context for what would later become known as Tourette's Syndrome. Here that same isolation of the most everyday movement that had been made possible by the footprint method is applied to a description of a staggering proliferation of tics, involuntary spasms and mannerisms that can be defined only as a generalized catastrophe of the gestural sphere. The patient is incapable of either beginning or fully enacting the most simple gestures; if he or she manages to initiate a movement, it is interrupted and sent awry by uncontrollable jerkings and shudderings whereby the muscles seem to dance (chorea) quite independently of any motor purpose. The equiva­lent of this disorder in the sphere of walking is described in exemplary manner by Charcot in the famous Lecons du mardi:

There he is, setting out with his body leaning forward, and the lower limbs rigid and held tight together balanced on tiptoe; they slide over the floor somehow, progressing by means of a kind of rapid twitching ... when the subject has thrust himself forward in this way he appears at every moment to be on the verge of falling headlong; at any rate it is virtually impossible for him to stop of his own volition. Usually he needs to hang on to some other body near him. It's as if he's an automaton moved by a spring, and in these stiff forward movements, jerky like convulsions, there is nothing reminis­cent of the looseness of walking…. In the end, after various attempts, he sets off, and following the mechanism just described, he slides rather than walks across the floor, with his legs stiff, or at least scarcely bending at all, with abrupt twitching movements somehow taking the place of steps.

What is most extraordinary is that after these disorders had been observed in thousands of cases from 1885 onwards, there is practically no further record of them in the early years of the twentieth century - until the winter's day in 1971 when Oliver Sacks, walking through the streets of New York, saw what he believed were three cases of Tourettism within the space of a few minutes. One of the hypotheses that can be j constructed' to explain this disappearance is that ataxy, tics and dystonia had, in the course of time, become the norm, and that beyond a certain point everyone had lost control of their gestures, walking and gesticulating frenetically. This, at least, is the impression one has in looking at the films that Marey and Lumiere began to make in those very years.

In the cinema, a society that has lost its gestures seeks to reappropriate what it has lost while simultaneously recording that loss.

An era that has lost its gestures is, for that very Reason, obsessed with them; for people who are bereft of all that is natural to them, every gesture becomes a fate. And the more the ease of these gestures was lost under the influence of invisible powers, the more life became indecipherable. It is at this stage that the bourgeoisie - which, only a few decades earlier, had still been firmly in possession of its symbols - falls a victim to interiority and entrusts itself to psychology.

Nietzsche is the point where this polar tension in European culture reaches its peak - a tension towards the effacement and loss of the gesture on one hand and, on the other, its transmuta­tion into a destiny. For it is only as a gesture in which potential and action, nature and artifice, contingency and necessity, become indiscernible (in the final analysis, therefore, solely as theatre) that the idea of eternal return makes sense. Thus Spake Zarathustra is the ballet of a humanity bereft of its gestures. And when the era became aware of this, then (too late!) began the headlong attempt to regain in extremis those lost gestures. The dance of Isadora and Diaghilev, the novels of Proust, the great Jugendestil poets from Pascoli to Rilke and ultimately - in the most exemplary way - silent cinema, trace the magic circle in which humanity sought, for the last time, to evoke what was slipping through its fingers for ever.

Contemporary with this, Aby Warburg was initiating those researches which only the short-sightedness of a psychologizing art history could describe as 'a science of the image', whereas in reality, at their centre was gesture as a crystal of historical memory, its hardening into a fate, and the strenuous effort of artists and philosophers (verging on madness in Warburg's case) to free it from this by means of a polarizing dynamic. Because these researches were conducted by means of images, it was believed that the image was also their object. Instead, Warburg transformed the image (which for Jung will furnish the model of the metahistoric sphere of archetypes) into a resolutely historical and dynamic element. In this sense, the Mnemosyne atlas, with its two thousand or so photographs, which he left unfinished, is not a fixed repertoire of images, but virtually a moving repre­sentation of the gestures of Western humankind from classical Greece up to Fascism (in other words, something closer to De Jorio than to Panovsky). Within each section the individual images are treated more as the frames of a film than as an autonomous reality (at least in the sense intended by Benjamin when he compared the dialectical image with those little picture-books prefiguring the cinema, which, when their pages are turned quickly, give the impression of motion).

Gesture rather than image is the cinematic element.

Gilles Deleuze has shown that cinema wipes out the fallacious psychological distinction between image as psychic reality and movement as physical reality. Film images are neither 'timeless postures' (like the forms of the classical world) nor 'static sections' of movement, but 'moving sections', images which are themselves in motion, which Deleuze calls 'moving-pictures'. We need to extend Deleuze's analysis and show that it has a general bearing on the status of the image within modernity. But this means that the mythical fixity of the image his been broken, and we should not really speak of images here, but of gestures. In fact, every image is animated by an antinomous polarity: on the one hand this is the reification and effacement of a gesture (the imago either as symbol or as the wax mask of the corpse); on the other it maintains the dynamis (as in Muybridge's split-second photographs, or in any photograph of a sporting event). The former corresponds to the memory of whose voluntary recall it takes possession; the latter to the image flashed in the epiphany of involuntary memory. And while the former dwells in magical isolation, the latter always refers beyond itself, towards a whole of which it is a part. Even the Mona Lisa, even Velazquez's Meninas, can be seen not as timeless static forms but as fragments of a gesture or as frames of a lost film, solely within which would they regain their true meaning. For in every image there is always a kind of ligatio at work, a power that paralyses, whose spell needs to be broken; it is as if; from the whole history of art, a mute invocation were, raised towards the freeing of the image in the gesture. This much was expressed in those Greek legends about statues breaking the fetters that contain them and beginning to move; but it is also the intention that philosophy entrusts to the idea, which is not at all - as it is commonly interpreted - a static archetype, but rather a constellation in which phenomena are composed in a gesture.

Cinema leads images back into the realm of gesture. Accord­ing to the splendid definition implicit in Beckett's Traum und Nacht, this is the dream of a gesture. Bringing the element of awakening into this dream is the task of the film-maker.

Because it is centrally located in the gesture, not the image, cinema essentially ranks with ethics and politics (and not merely with aesthetics).

What is gesture? An observation by Varro holds an extremely valuable clue. He inscribes gesture in the sphere of action, but distinguishes it clearly from acting [agere] and doing [facere]:

A person can make [facere] something and not enact [agere] it, as a poet makes a play, but does not act it (agere in the sense of playing a part); on the other hand the actor acts the play, but docs not make it. So the play is made [fit] by the poet, but not acted [agitur] by him; it is acted by the actor, but not made by him. Whereas the imperator (the magistrate in whom supreme power is invested) of whom the expression res gerere is used (to carry something out, in the sense of taking it upon oneself, assuming total responsibility for it), neither makes nor acts, but takes charge, in other words carries the burden of it [sustinet].2

What characterizes gesture is that in it there is neither produc­tion nor enactment, but undertaking and supporting. In other words, gesture opens the sphere of ethos as the most fitting sphere of the human. But in what way is an action undertaken and supported? In what way does a res become res gesta, a simple fact become an event? Varro's distinction between facere and agere derives, in the final analysis, from Aristotle. In a famous passage from the Nicomachean Ethics, he contrasts them thus: 'Action [praxis] and production [poiesis] are generically different. For production aims at an end other than itself; but this is impossible in the case of action, because the end is merely to do what is right.'

1 'La jambe servant de point d'appui, le pied droit se souleve du sol en subissant un mouvement d'enreulement allant du talon a I'extremite des orteils qui quittent terre en dernier lieu: la jambe toute entiere est portee en avant, passe a cote de la jambe droite dont elle tend a se rapprocher, la depasse et le pied gauche vient toucher le sol par le talon alors que le droit acheve sa revolution.'

2 Varro, De Lingua Latina, VI, 77.

Lost issue!

Issue 26 Magic Summer 2007
Table of Contents

This issue, with a themed section on Magic guest-edited by London-based artist Jonathan Allen, is 128 pages and includes a pull-out poster by Implicasphere.

* Inventory / Talk to the Hand
Brian Dillon
Deciphering the language of gesture
* A Minor History Of / Aquatic Ambulism
Joshua Foer
The sport of God
* Colors / Olive
Dziga Lovechild
Kind of conceptual
* Object Lesson / Lost Object
Celeste Olalquiaga
What can be said about what Breton loved?


* The Porcupine Illusion
George Prochnik
Freud’s prickly secret
* The Illusionistic Magic of Geometric Figuring
Margaret Wertheim
Virtual reality, medieval-style
* Stripes
Belly up to the bars
* Simmering Statecraft
Sandy Isenstadt
Politics amid the pots and pans
* Artist Project / Kitchen I & II
Terence Gower
* The Real Thing
Joshua Glenn
The Coke bottle and the third way
* The Bitter Scribe of Quail Springs
Sandy Zipp
John Samuelson's Rocks
* Marking Territory
Sarah Whitney Womack
Into the jungle with man's best friend
* The Barber Trial: Sivan vs. Finkielkraut
Thomas Keenan and Eyal Weizman
An analysis of the libel case
* Sivan vs. Finkielkraut
A translation of the trial transcript


* Deceptionists at War
Jonathan Allen
Martial magic
* Perspective Correction
Greg Allen
The beguiling stagecraft of American politics
* Image Magic
Alexander Nagel
Idol hands are the devil's tools
* Artist Project / Legerdemains
Ruth Claxton
* Black Herman's African American Magical Synthesis
Yvonne P. Chireau
Between folklore and vaudeville
* Modern Enchantments: An Interview with Simon During
Sina Najafi and Simon During
Secular magic and the modern cultural imagination
* Impossible Return
Adrian Heathfield
Watching Tommy Cooper die, again
* Alive at Both Ends
Paul Kieve
A brief history of magic's most famous illusion
* I Can See Your Ideology Moving
Sally O'Reilly and Ian Saville
Ventriloquizing Marx
* Artist Project / Tommy Angel
Jonathan Allen
* Protean Fakirs
Shreeyash Palshikar
Indian magic's new superstar
* Koringa: From Biknar to Blackpool
Vanessa Toulmin
* Currencies of Wonder
Tim Reed
Magicians make money
* Rule 13
Edwin A. Dawes
David Devant's illusion
* Spell Check
Craig Conley
A brief glossary of magic words


* Postcard / The Mystery Card
Scott Penrose
* Bookmark / Perforation Curse

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lili Dujourie

Lili Dujourie (Belgium, born 1941) is known for her video works and photographic series from the 1970s and early 80s, but also for her works on paper from the same period and her three-dimensional works from later decades. These are often executed in techniques and materials that resonate with many centuries of tradition, such as draped velvet, marble intarsia, lead or ceramics. Lili Dujourie is continuously concerned with contemporary reinterpretations of themes, forms and gestures from art history, which is one reason why her many-faceted but dense and precisely articulated oeuvre is so visually and intellectually rewarding.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Exhibition Title: Forbidden Love: Art in the Wake of Television Camp

Date: September 25 – December 19, 2010Images courtesy of Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne

Artists: Judith Barry, Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Paul Chan, Mel Chin and the GALA Committee, Jaime Davidovich, Simon Denny, Kalup Linzy, Christoph Schlingensief, Ryan Trecartin, Francesco Vezzoli, Andy Warhol

Press Release:

While television still plays a part in determining our thinking, behaviour and actions as a matter of course, it is now also numbered among the things we no longer reflect upon by sheer force of habit. In light of this it seems an appropriate time to take another closer look at the “goggle box”. Forbidden Love: Art in the Wake of Television Camp will observe the seductive methods of television, with its “gaudy mannerisms”, and describe television as a world of experience with different formats, forms of communication and inherent ambiguities. The project aims neither at a thematic nor a moralistic analysis of television, but rather at an aesthetic, “camp” approach, in keeping with Susan Sontag’s analysis in her Notes on Camp.

The exhibition Forbidden Love: Art in the Wake of Television Camp readdresses an area that the Kölnischer Kunstverein helped to shape decisively during the 1980s with the presentation of Gerry Schum’s Videogalerie – Fernsehgalerie in 1980 and through exhibitions such as Video-Skulptur in 1989 by Wulf Herzogenrath, and The Arts for Television in 1987. Today however, the focus for artists seems to not be so much a question of the development of technical possibilities or even a critique of this homogenising, consumer-oriented mass medium. At the same time, this year’s exhibitions like Changing Channels at the MUMOK in Vienna or Are you ready for TV? at MACBA in Barcelona show a renewed interest in historical art-projects for television from the 1960’s – 1980’s that paved the way for this kind of analysis of TV.

Instead, Forbidden Love: Art in the Wake of Television Camp will present artists who work with the structural conventions of television, using them for their own ends. Like Warhol, these artists can knowingly utilise the rules of the attention-dependent economy, play with celebrity culture, and adopt the episodic structure of soaps, TV shows, music clips, or talk shows, turning them into something else. The exhibition includes artists who are not necessarily using their own transmission slot on television. Instead, like parasites, there are those that infiltrate existing TV with their own artistic concerns. One example is Mel Chin (b. 1951) and the GALA Committee, who manufactured and manipulated loaded stage props for the 4th and 5th seasons of the well-known television series Melrose Place.

Having grown up with television, the younger artists in particular approach the medium from the position of the specialised viewer. They pursue a fascination for the dethroning of the serious (Sontag), for the stylistic howlers of image cultivation, and the opulence of surface splendour. As consumers of television, they return the ball to the opposing court and mirror the medium. The ambivalent and exclusive mechanisms of television, its ambiguous methods of communication and an attitude of expectation emerge particularly clearly in childlike role-playing, reflecting the desire for participation and an exaggerated cultivation of image.

Artists like Kalup Linzy (b.1977) look back to television formats such as the Soap or the Casting-show. In his videos, reflecting upon childhood experiences, Linzy performs all the female main characters, if not

also all supporting roles. He performs with the knowledge that his brand of drag would be quite unlikely in „real“ television, while also repeating clichés and phrases bound to television and the enforced desire of intensity and fame. This attention to forms that shape desire is an aspect that one could also track in the work of Francesco Vezzoli’s (b.1981). Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981) picks up language, aesthetics and characters from the Internet and computer games as much as from TV. He blends stories and realities so much that they become quasi-abstract images.

To give these various perspectives on television a framework Simon Denny (b. 1982) has developed a setting for the exhibition. His exhibition design works with the paradox that the television industry, being so strictly bound to the present, does not leave relics behind. Denny integrates the exhibition architecture with parts of stage sets from current television-shows borrowed from local TV-production company Brainpool, offsetting the art-object/sets by Mel Chin and the GALA committee with non-relics form the industry.

The exhibition Forbidden Love: Art in the Wake of Television Camp is a co-operation with the Kunstverein Medienturm, Graz. A combined catalogue will be published with both institutions. The exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein was conceived by Simon Denny, Kathrin Jentjens and Anja Nathan-Dorn. Simon Denny currently holds a studio-stipend from Kölnischer Kunstverein and the RheinEnergie Stiftung Kultur.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

14th April 1965

Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64yh St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there. Much love to you both.


A contribute by Filipa Ramos

Filipa Ramos is an art critic, writer and curator who lives in Italy. She is Associate Teacher for the course of History of Contemporary Art at the Accademia di Brera, Milan and at the Visual Arts Laboratory of the IUAV/University of Venice. Among others, she curated “Clearly Invisible - An(invisible)”, Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelone, 2006, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” at Galleria Galica, Milan and “Incidental Arrangements” at Galleria Gentili. In 2009, she launched the new Gallery of Massimo De Carlo in London, where she studied, lived and work for the past four years. She is the co-author of the book Lost and Found - Crisis of Memory in Contemporary Art (Silvana editoriale, Milan, 2009) and contributes for several international magazines. She is currently Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal and project manager at Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como.