Au Contraire, by Sotère Torregian
As the Whitney Biennial closes, Sotère Torregian’s protest (via Garrett Caples and Brian Lucas):
Manifesto AU CONTRAIRE: The Whitney Bienniale
To: Michele Grabner, Chicago Art Inst.
Zoe Leonard, artist, Stuart Comer Museum of Modern Art
Notarysojack, as Barney Stover says,
to unlock the mystery of Existenz
—1 April AD2014
There are no “Women Artists.” There are no “Men Artists.” There are only Artists who happen to embody one gender or another.
When I speak of Art I AM ART I AM AMONGST THE ARTISTS, those who are so-called.
Again, I AM ART.
That which I do is “Art.”
That which I write: “Everything I do is poetry.”
I remain French Surrealist and therefore, therefore, Ainsi Mesdames et Messieurs, Vide Napoli e muori!
I revive my dictum after so many years in abeyance: “C’est la guerre totale” Total Assault!
Your museums and galleries must open the door to the Maelstrom which is US.
A man walking outside in the pouring rain. Prendre d’assaut! – Faire d’Orage!
Artists of Colour? C’est l’Afrique C’est l’Ethiopie C’est le Dogon! There is the veracity of ART, in the true cradle of Civilisation. (Not the Tigris or Euphrates, — Sorry!) It’s Africa.
But if you would ask the Question: “What is Contemporary Art?” Ask, then, Africa; ask the Cameroun. Ask the Siné-Saloum!
One must enter the domaine of the oneiric.
—Thus, my absence from your midst is my Presence.
Art, what you call “Art” is going on beyond your conceptions—Au delà, Beyond the walls of your galleries and museums: Art IS HERE where I am. I speak it each day. In turn it speaks Ancient Egyptian, modern Bambara and Amhara. It speaks in every word André Breton ever wrote.
Thus, AU CONTRAIRE!
—Inscribed in the journals of Arshille Gorky; evidenced in the paintings of Gorky and those of Jackson Pollock.
It is they who lead the Maelstrom, the Siege of the Citadel.—Avant! Avant!
Yet despite all philistinism Je t’aime. JE SUIS L’ART.
I am sure Le Grande Artiste, the Cookie Monster, would agree with me.
Respondez s’il vous plaît
My tall next door neighbor’s long lovely legs. I am sure the rocks are happy as she walks on them. Alors, même que je suis encore fatigué. Alas I am not a Czar so I can’t sweep her off her feet. She knows nothing about Art. She is one of the tribe of technophiles, digitalized.
But there goes Art (in her) although it knows it not—The Unknown, the Nameless One (I do not know her name or station in life)….but that she goes into a house and emerges therefrom,–onto the thoroughfare, past this window from time to time.
Now I am all silent. I recall the grand artist—pope of us all!—Jackson Pollock once declared he would rather cease talking with human beings altogether, in favor of expressing his communiqué solely in his art of painting. Bravo. I concur. Yet I persist with talk—talk—talk—when I should only write! And otherwise keep silence.
"And disguised I sat amongst you. And you wrapped
yourselves in different webs. Silently, you guarded
the rusty keys of the gates.”
—These words could have come from my own mouth but they did not. They came from the Russian Artist turned Mystic and Pilgrim, Nicolas Roerich, who migrated to the Himalayas to live his life there.—
For you who so tenaciously guard the rusty keys to the Gates.
1 April – 30 April AD2014
See Publications for information about Sotère Torregian’s The Age of Gold (Redux) from Rêve à Deux. Video courtesy of Brian Lucas, text courtesy of Sotère Torregian. For more about Sotère Torregian, see Garret Caples’ City Lights post.