Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Lyon
To reenact the world – History as self-portrait
Gustavo Speridião handles a wide range of media in his works: painting, video, photograph explores altogether a process in which a stream of conciousness method intermingles with a edition structure inspired by early russian movie avantgarde (as noticed in a recent video titled Mr. Vertov whose narrative is organised by visual analogies which along the picture becomes a personal statement about contemporary world). Observed from a formal point of view, his works probably would be seen as a continuous and intentional sketch (and one is tempted to use such word here either in its visual and theatrical noun due to an ironic accent present in some passages) or a translation into a pictorial vocabulary of references taken form urban space, like, e.g. political slogans and grafitti spread in every corner of the cities together with quotations from art history. Nonetheless, once considered the subject emphasized by a series of images meticulously chosen, one notices how his work goes far beyond any metalinguistic problem. Indeed, he embraces political contents as his main concern, reminding us that there is no art nor life apart from politics. Speridião does not fear his works risks to be seen as “libellous”: urgent tensions, ambitions and questions which portrayed a post-globalised world (presenting its “hidden” tragic effects worldwide) surpass either inconformism and immoralism (in a gidesque perspective) as mere reactions against whatever. Regarding this aspect, instead of conscious of the use of post-conceptual strategies, it differs from post-production attitudes from the mate-nineties, as he seems skeptic to restrict himself only into a micropolitical agenda. For him we lived still under expectations and challenges that touches everybody, everywhere.
The point is how percepction and action equals as critical attitudes. It is exemplified through his photos – what actually make them differ from ordinary images? Edition, i.e., the way they are assembled or presented, or better, the alternative narratives developed after them. Recode images through recorded images defines also his book created upon a Life magazine anthology. The procedure employed by the artist can be compared either with Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. or ordinary traces scribbled on billboards and advertisement photos displayed wherever. The disruptive messages derived throughout this action are mirrowed in the (his)tory Speridião invents – or interpets – in a very peculiar approach, where every image makes clear the borderline in which it lay, conflicting ideological and opposites Histories and their disputes from the supremacy of the eye, a supremacy conquered not necessarily due to aesthetical qualities. Images evokes desire and simultaneously the power who subtlely controls them. There is a erratic – but not at all anarchic – sequence that alternates from private comments to political opinions or even fictive (and efective) correspondences inside art history. In other words, his THE GREAT ART HISTORY anthology juxtaposes histories that once and for all are not the same in their meaning and intention, though decidedly part of common set where mankind lived /acted its drama.
Why bother with history after all triumphantly proclaimed end of times (end of history, end of art, end of art history and so on)? It is unecessary to resume the obvious, i.e. that inside all those fatalist worldviews there are numberless emerging voices who claim for more than identity, for a place and dignity. Speridião’s purposefuly evident and personal narrative, both individual and collective, inquires for an place for those alternative orders, where former metaphors conquers its right for actual existence, and where the production of images should be no more an imagery imposed, but a experience shared collectively.