It’s no knowing everything is displaced, undermined to the sight, which makes everyone turn what may be the reality of the unconscious into a ghost.
The real and comprehensive understanding of an idea far outweighs the first nod of intelligence.
–Who called you? When I have no desire to think about anything, when I want to be bored you simply show up, what do you want now?
–You don’t need to call me, I am part of you and you cannot help it. In that gesture of ignorant painter, I exist too. Your needs are not only automatic movement against the submissive canvas. In that case you would be an abstractionist.
–Abstractionism bores me.
–You know it’s not about that. You had to study abstraction very well to compose the overall image of your work, which actually is “our,” even if it’s hard to admit it. Technical virtuosity and meaning shake hands. There’s an intelligent output to the urges you guard, to that need that if not channeled, would make you explode. Remember Freud, –yes, not Freud, but Freud, “Froi,” so you’ll understand, better like that? Well, according to the master of psychoanalysis, man is primarily a neurotic animal. He faces the process of neurosis that occurs in the human psyche, a kind of struggle between the unconscious and the self.
–I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Let me see if I can get it. It’s like the fight between you and I.
–According to Freud, not if you consider yourself as the “I” and me as the unconscious. But if you see it the other way around, then yes. Even if you’re the one in plain sight, the unconscious is the space of urges, of brutish attitudes, of socially incorrect or aberrant behavior. Thus, in our case, the definitions are reversed. When you cannot control yourself and before you become an animal completely, then I appear. At the end those who suffer are your androgynous and grotesques characters. Your wish to become an animal is suffered by the mutating beasts who become man, or the beasts emerging from the man.
–All this is too complicated, I paint because I like it, it’s not so difficult. You’re the one who obscures everything.
–No, not me but the whole tradition you owe to. And you also know it, even through the information that I can gather for you. The books you give me are not enough, but I cannot blame you. I think Lacan describes very well what happens to you and it’s called le stade du miroir, don’t ask where I got that from. Think, I’m not independent, but I ought to be. Anyways, the mirror stage, so you can understand me. I’ll explain: think of the times I have suggested that you don’t finish the characters. Just one hand, by synecdoche, is an extension of the body.
–But my body, I know it well, better than you because you’re only in my head.
–That’s your mistake. I begin to exist when you see yourself in full. When in the mirror you recognize that you are a complete entity and not separate fragments. That’s why in your next exhibition, there will be complete characters. Although, I cannot refute they are a bit brutalized. I think that’s what it is, they are half men, half animal.
–I’ve done that too many times before, what’s new about it.
–Doesn’t matter how new it is. The novelty is the result of a well-structured and effective promotional action…
–Sold expensive and fast is what we need.
–Do not interrupt me. The commercial success comes after the formal and conceptual quality, although both elements should not be separate. The market must meet the need for expression of overwhelming talent and not vice versa. I leave color selection to your will, as I almost always do. But this time I want you to return to past moments, unfinished paths through which you can still advance your work. Return to advance.
–I think I see you eating more pinga (cock) than usual, with that refined speech of yours and many others.
–It bothers me how foolish you can be sometimes. Go see if you can do something productive and take it out on our work and not me. I’m just guiding your reflection; you don’t have to attack your true self.
–I liked that phrase I said, it’s even poetics (Oh, I’m catching your laziness already), I’ll include it in one of the drawings.
–I know you do that to annoy me. But I have to give in, as usual. You know I do not agree with your foul language, but if it’s what you want… However, you have to admit that in this case you have done almost nothing. I handed all over to you easily. I’m thinking of a title for it.
–Look, don’t give me another bullshit 8, or any of those weird things, I liked Nada, but in this case, if it does not appeal to me you’re going to have to settle for C of Carlos. You know I’ll do it.
–Calm down. It’s not weird. The word I’m thinking of is apocryphal.
–And what the fuck is that?
–Have you forgotten? How is it possible? How can you have me and be so rough? What you have to know is that is how texts attributed to an author are erroneously called. Because if I start talking about the texts that have not been included in the canon of the Hebrew Tanakh, or the Greek Septuagint Bible, I would have to explain to you all day what their thematic essences are. Look, why don’t you look for inspiration in works on the same subject? You have many among your favorite painters that can feed you. Think of some.
–I understand, but I hope you’re referring to some of his greater works and not to show cases like his Triptych 1976, that one that sold for 67.5 million €. All that money doesn’t pay even a single apex of the grandeur of a single piece of Bacon. Like his portrait of Inocencio X, an intelligent appropriation of Velázquez, rather responds to the arrogance of some of these great magnates.
–There’s nothing wrong with selling expensive. Did you go crazy or do you want to drive me crazy?
–I’m talking about meditation. I’m talking about doing according to the satisfaction of the urges I spoke of, and not the cravings of a few; or to the heartbreaking need to express your concerns about the subject itself and its existence. I’m saying there’s something salvable in your automatism, something that cannot be bought. Human capital and talent are a finite good, and a very difficult one to maintain at that. Remember the teachers we have approached. Stop and fill yourself with the blue of the tapestry you adore and pray to the universal energy that fills your body.
–You’re talking shit again.
–Fine. If you want to land just a little what I’m telling you. Arm the entire series and start painting at once. We don’t have to go against each other, just remember that things are not what they are but what they appear to be, and this we owe to Lacan. Don’t put it in a painting as if it were yours.
Review published in Imago digital newsletter:
Havana, April 5, 2013. The exhibition Apócrifo (Apocryphal) of the Cuban artist Carlos Quintana, will be open to the public until May 24, and will be presented at Galería Habana (located in Línea and F, Havana). It is a set with surrealist inspiration that draws on abstract expressionism, the Japanese print and much of the imagery of Asian cultures in general. His work in surrealism unites him to a generation that begins in the 70’s and has been segregated by the thrust of the art of the 80’s, to which the artist has had to stand up against…
Review published in the magazine Renovación Cultural:
The art of Quintana is pure disproportion. The corporal presence is in many cases completely gratuitous and based on an illusion where eroticism is lost to surrender to puerility. Instead of pointing to the emaciated, to the freedom of bonds, he selects concupiscence, which in this case offers very little to a work hastily resolved. See, for example, pieces such as Conejo el cual se tiró un peo (Rabbit that dropped a fart), whose description would be inappropriate even in the highest registers of speech. Another of the gallery walls displays a set that picks up the initial work of Quintana. It is not a problem to turn back on himself, but this artist has us accustomed to the reiteration, especially in what refers to the propensity to discover anatomy, without objections or respect to the public. These works are remembrances of comic strips that include verbal supplements of the most atrocious vulgarity like: “A ti que cojones te importa” (What the fuck is it to you?) or “te veo comiendo un poco de pinga…” (I see you eating a little bit of cock)
Article published in the Excelencias newspaper:
The exhibition Apócrifo (Apocryphal) by Carlos Quintana presented at Galería Habana is an example of the constant renewal of this artist who, without abandoning his visual production line, becomes part of the list of the most important creators of the contemporary plastic scene. This is corroborated by the technical-creative capacity of his work. His characters are a bit animal, somewhat men, a trait that characterizes his language. His mastery, achieved by hard work, allows him to find the exact point of transformation. In the work Inocencio X, based on a piece by Francis Bacon, he shows us on a resounding yellow background the image of a seated Pope accompanied and sharing protagonist role with a dog. Trío de tres (A trio of three) is pure poetry and the animal stands in the middle of the orgiastic scene. In Guerra (War) the animal has replaced the man in almost everything, and exists, but hidden in the middle of his already assumed role of beast. Quintana does not stop, he’s himself in everything he does and, like Midas, every canvas he touches becomes a treasure…
–I’m here again, but now I have nothing to reproach you, I know you’re upset about Apócrifo’s reception. It’s clearly not your best exhibit, so you cannot get angry or lash out at everyone as if there was a plot against you.
–Look, I’m really interested in what they say or write about my work, if they do, it’s a sign that it attracted attention.
–It really isn’t that important if they don’t understand that looking for references is after-work, because you paint and draw based on your knowledge and experiences after many years of obsessive work. If you have reminiscences of surrealism that’s fine, but if it is something else, it is not productive to be framed in currents to which no one ascribes in a pure way. Intertextuality is one of the essential characteristics of postmodern art and I am an artist of my time.
As for eroticism, the nude is part of life. The taboos inherited from centuries of incomprehension and “wise” ignorance still weigh down in the representation of the body as a channeling of desire. In Trío de tres is registered –through a barter of the sexual identity of its figures– this rejection of the contemporary man to the false modesty and the respect towards any established order. Three androgynous characters share a non-specific, fictional space, conducive to intimacy. We recognize the sex of one of the figures because it sits on a chair with legs open (it is indisputably a woman), while another on a dog heads toward her and kisses her hand. In the background the last character waits to undress and participate in the orgy. Enough of the criticism lingered only in banal interpretations, empty of any sense. In Guerra, how do they not realize that our struggle is insinuated? A rabbit-shaped animal and a man who gradually becomes a beast are suspended in the center of the picture in total balance. It is clearly synthesized in the work the process of neurosis inherent in every man.
When he resumed the comic strips at the beginning of his career, what was sought was –leaving all orthodox and coherent dialogue behind–, to undress positions such as hypocrisy, opportunism, violence. All this achieved with a crude vocabulary put in the mouths of the characters themselves who shout through giant globes and speculate on our right to be heard, even if we have different opinions. In short, a whole range of meanings expressed through a grotesque expressionism and a very particular symbology, which strips man down and brings out desires and hidden needs. Our work should be taken as it comes, history should have to be built, not discovered. Everyone is free to make it their own and find as many speeches as they think relevant, as long as it adheres to the guidelines that we present.
–You said it.