jueves, 11 de septiembre de 2008
One night 150 artists 1.500.000 euro:
On wensday 10th of september 2008 in Matadero Madrid started a series of conferences "Reflex" to introduce some of the artists participating to "La noche en blanco" to give the audience the opportunity to meet them and get to know more about their work.
"From I want to be a terrorist to I want to be like Jesus Christ bleeding on the cross."
Again in between installations, projections, concerts in the programme appears the performance of an artist David Fernandez which work consists in "self inflicting" or demanding the audience to inflict him pain. He asks the audience to poor hot wax on his skin till his body is completely covered. At the end is even beautiful he said as he becomes a ground where the audience can play to shape the wax and him till he often looks like a christmas tree charming the grandmothers.
As soon as he mentioned hot wax I couldn't help reminiscing Madonna and Willem Dafoe in "Body of evidence" 1993.
And indeed there is nothing new about all this, actually the list of artists doing the same is largely long and that's why it made me reflect.
The question then is: if you are not saying anything new, anything personal why do you do it?
The obvious reason is that pain-torture sells almost as much as sex, it is one of the best marketing strategies of an artist.
And then it hit me. In the mind of many art is equal to many centuries of paintings of a Jesus Christ bleeding on the cross or dying in the arms of Mary. Though we may reject the political connotations of an art financed by the Pope and the Church in general, to celebrate their power, make publicity of their grandiose magnificent in short maintaing their political campain of brainwash, it stands the fact that willing or not we unconsciously associate art to the crucified Jesus Christ.
Is it this the reason why it has become so common to see artists who take upon themselves the role of Jesus Christ and other martyrs that sacrify their bodies to be tortured in front of massas?
No, but it's a fact that the desire to be God manifests in many ways and this can be called one of them.
One thing for sure David Fernandez is a great performer and a good communicator. He come well prepared to the conference, he had the whole speach rehearsed and that was honorable and a wind of fresh air and respect towards the audience.
There were some artists who come to the conference to say: "I don't know what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, I don't want to be here cause I'm agaist the whole concept of "la noche en blanco" I think it's a waste of money ..." and yet they are there. The response of the audience should only be: if you don't want to be here and you are not prepared to speak with us, don't waste our time! That's actually worse of la noche en blanco high expenses, which by the way are used to give you quality and quantity of publicity and exposure that you wouldn't be able to get making 100 of performances in the alternative theater scene. Once upon a time maybe s/he was an artist now is a burned out hypocrat.
But David on the contrary is smart, serious about his work and as I mentioned a great marketing strategist with a plan and performative talent.
His introduction flyer:
At the age of seventeen, David Fernandez wanted to be
a terrorist. He kept explosives in his mothers house.
He had a plan: to blow a place up. It was a slaugh-
terhouse, the Matadero in Madrid. Curiously he has been invited now to give a
chat in the same place. The place has changed and so
has he. But he still has a plan.
He did start the conference virtually blowing up the Matadero.
Then he said he does theater cause he doesn't have the courage to do things for real,
that theater saved him from a sure life in prison but then again he added: "My theater doesn't save me, it saves you from me." Which is a great title line.
When he described the work he will present in La noche en blanco explained that pain was his way to possess his body, a way that his body wouldn't belong to the system but to himself.
He asked us absolutely sure that the answer would be yes if when we were young we didn't play burning our skin with cigarettes or lighters or skratching our skin till bleeding. I couldn't help bursting in a laugh thinking no, not really. But then again I didn't need to think longer than a second to get aware that there are other ways to self inflict pain.
Who is free of this charge may throw the first stone.
It will not be me and I seriously doubt any stone will be thrown.
After the conference I asked him "Why don't you possess your body with pleasure?"
"Yes I could masturbate myself in front of the audience, the problem is I cannot get my dick hard in public"
Walking home the conclusion was:
It's easier to suffer than to be happy.
The brainwash of religion is still alive and kicking we all want to have God's aka the father's love and we have fallen in the trap believing that by inflicting pain upon ourselves we'll get his attention and care.
Art should free us, but maybe not yet.
by Paola Tognazzi