EVERYBODY IS ALWAYS RIGHT
We’re pleased to extend our exhibition with Luca Bertolo Everybody is always right until Saturday February 25.
Thursday – Saturday 12 – 6pm or by appointment, except Wednesday February 22, 2 – 6pm
Just imagine that your Daddy is the smartest man who ever lived on Earth, and he knows everything there is to find out, and he is exactly right about everything, and he can prove he is right about everything. Now imagine another little child on some nice world a million light years away, and that little child’s Daddy is the smartest man who ever lived on that nice world so far away. And he is just as smart and just as right as your Daddy is. Both Daddies are smart, and both Daddies are right.
Only if they ever met each other they would get into a terrible argument, because they wouldn’t’ agree on anything. Now, you can say that your Daddy is right and the other little child’s Daddy is wrong, but the Universe is an awfully big place. There is room enough for an awful lot of people to be right about things and still not agree.
The reason both Daddies can be right and still get into terrible fights is because there are so many different ways of being right. There are places in the Universe, though, where each Daddy could finally catch on to what the other Daddy was talking about. These places are where all the different kinds of truths fit together as nicely as the parts in your Daddy’s solar watch. We call these places chromo-synclastic infundibula.
The Solar System seems to be full of chrono-synclastic infundibula. There is one great big one we are sure of that likes to stay between Earth and Mars. We know about that one because an Earth man and his Earth dog ran right into it.
You might think it would be nice to go to a chrono-synclastic infundibulum and see all the different ways to be absolutely right, but it is a very dangerous thing to do. The poor man and his poor dog are scattered far and wide, not just through space, but through time, too.
Chrono (kroh-no), means time. Synclastic (sin-classtick) means curved towards the same side in all directions, like the skin of an orange. Infundibulum (in-fun-dib-u-lum) is what the ancient Roman like Julius Caesar and Nero called a funnel. If you don’t know what a funnel is, get Mommy to show you one.
The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut
What is a sign? The meaning I referred with the series of works called indeed Signs, is the sign as a peculiar object used to communicate. typically in a public space. Caution: do not cross the yellow line! Behind this door you’ll find a toilet. To go that way is forbidden! And so on. In other words, there is a message which must be immediately understood, a directive to follow, an action to be done or avoided. Very often, a picture (an icon, a symbol) plays the role of a written message: Stop! Children crossing the road! Nuclear radiation! And so on. Political banners share with signs many features, the most evident being the message’s clarity: Free Leonard Peltier! doesn’t’ call for a difficult interpretation (if you know who he is). Of course, the word sign also names the founding element of semiotics, which could be loosely defined as object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.
Now, being a painter and not a linguist, I came across those things playing with forms. I noticed that something weird happened when I once tightened a painting on a stick: the very same painted rectangle had quite different effect on me. If paired with a painted or written surface, a stick or a pole functions as a device, which declares: Hallo, what you see above me is a sign! Another well known device is the frame, which declares: Hallo, what you see inside me is very possibly a two dimensional work of art! You might suggest that a painting is a kind of device too, although it’s quite an hard job to define any task it might have. Be as it is, the very point for me became the juxtaposition of these two different objects (or devices), which speak two different languages. The one, (the stick transforming the canvas into a sign) calls for immediacy, clarity, unambiguity, while the other (the painted surface treated as a painting), calls for arbitration, contemplation, ambiguity.
And how do these weird oxymoron-creatures work? I am fascinated by the kind of energy they unleash. I’m thrilled by their unstable semiotic position. Last not least, they produced a wholesome break in my long frustration with art’s essential incapacity of being political without stopping being art (that is something essentially ambiguous). Yes, and very often, while observing these signs quietly leaning against the wall, I realise I’m smiling.
Luca Bertolo, January 2017