V O I D A N D F E E L I N G
EXPLORING THE MAHLEVICH LEGACY THROUGH SELECTED WORKS IN BLACK AND WHITE
ACCOMPANIED BY THE POEM "NEGRO EL 10" BY JULIO CORTAZAR
In 1913, Kasimir Mahlevich took refuge in the Square form and exhibited a picture that consisted of nothing more than a Black Square on a White field; in his own words: “a desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity”.
His main goal resided on his efforts to evidence that through an artistic process in which the final objective was no other than to spend long hours of inspiration and creativity painting a black square, FEELING had finally assumed an external form” and everything else beyond (the white field) would be interpreted as the VOID. He wanted art to exist in and for itself, without any object, form or manner to be used as reference. No more the virtuosity of the painter would be judged on the illusion of the image contemplated, he wanted us to dwell on the contemplation itself and feel.
Such ideas embodied the springboard from which modernism would later jump in many ways and forms, and although in our show black is almost continuously associated to geometry, some of the the artworks represented in it have embraced black in as many forms shapes or shades as the artists thought possible within their principles and iconography.
During the 1980’s and through endless conversation with Julio Cortazar, Luis Tomasello centered his efforts on the search for the atmospherization of the color Black (having attained the atmospherization of almost every other color through his Chromoplastic Atmospheres), he reached success by opening spaces within a black painted surface and discovered that within that space, the color black had become darker and deeper: a dematerialized black atmosphere. From such discussions and discovery, the idea of creating the book “Negro el 10” came to fruition; an art-object in which 10 graphics by Luis Tomasello would be accompanied by a Julio Cortazar poem titled Negro el 10 (in reference to the fact that black is the color of the number 10 in the Roulette). Julio Cortazar would embrace such endeavor by creating an ode to the color black in ten brief but heartfelt stanzas (he finished signing this limited edition art-book-object in his hospital bed, just a few days before his passing, and as such, it can be interpreted as his final work). We thought fitting to include a work by Tomasello from such period and that every one of the works participating in our show should be accompanied by a fraction of the poem Negro el 10.
Added to the latter our exhibit is proud to present works by Francoise Morellet, Mira Schendel, GeGo, Antonio Asis and a calligraphic linear work in a square form by Leon Ferrari (appropriately embossed in Braille with the poem “Un Ciego” by Jorge Luis Borges). Works by Eduardo Seron, Ana Sacerdote, Raul Lozza, Carmelo Arden Quin, Aluisio Carvao, and Lothar Charoux complement the Concrete phase of our show and contemporary artists such as Antonio Dias (Brazil), Patrizia Zelano (Italy), Roberto Obregon (Venezuela), Pae White (USA) and Santiago Parra (Colombia) are all represented as well.
To concentrate our efforts in just the obvious common denominator of our exhibit would defeat its purpose. “But the nature and meaning of artistic creation continue to be misunderstood, as does the nature of creative work in general, because feeling, after all, is always and everywhere the one and only source of every creation”, Mahlevich wrote at the end of his manifesto.