Reviews » Luca Cristofoli 2008

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THE SHADOW OF MEMORY

Memory and super-memory as matter tending towards 0 that is 1; a short essay on the faith, the light and vitality in Françoise Calcagno’s conceptual process, hoping that we will witness her breakthrough of the Third avant-garde, in our time and as soon as possible, and that she can speed up the advent of the revolution and transformation of the quality and quantity of matter itself in the light-light and in the vitality within, tending towards 0 that is 1 by Luca Cristofoli

Our story began at the beginning of the twentieth century with the avant-garde that involved and indelibly and irreversibly permeated the history of mankind. This story is the story of the emancipation of human beings from idols/objects. The second avant-garde produced the light/thought of perceiving the shadow of the earlier objects from which we had completely freed ourselves. What is shadow? It is light + object. Thus a shadow is the sum of two things, it is in itself a super-matter, formed by the light and the object. What is light? It is in itself the thought that was programmed in the seed of the avant-garde. But the object still exists, merely as the chaff of the thought, as a trace. Creators of works of art produce shadows. All. Consciously or not. Shadow is, however, a form of light. Different from that which bears upon the object. The nature of this substance, shadow, is what we want to consider here; before the latest and definitive avant-garde that will free us all, without exception from the object, from the subject, in a total material and spiritual vitality of existence. Therefore memory, which is an oft-contemplated subject by many artists, today has a different conceptual consistency, compared with the past, given that this too, is super-matter produced by time + intellect. The result is a shadow of the shadow, matter-ial that the avant-garde artists use; light coming from opaque surfaces that anticipate the true matter, which we could finally perceive, not as something outside ourselves but an integral part of our being, which is light and vitality. Without any separation. As is well-known, the state of matter depends on the energy possessed by what it is made up of, in the inner nucleus that gives its own power/experience and vitality; energy, which in turn depends on the temperature of the body and type of power-links that react between the need to exist and existence itself. We could add that it depends too on the energy of the atoms that form it and the type of powerlinks that act between one atom and another. At any temperature there are substances in the form of gas, liquid and solid and, at an extremely high temperature, only plasma. This is a recently-discovered state of matter, but obviously it has always interacted with the other states, fusing with them, in a whole that we are not yet able to grasp. This state of matter, plasma, is the most common inside our universe. And the quality and quantity of the matter and materials are what we are compelled to study and consider: from the shapelessness of which we can say nothing to the artwork that we make. We say ”we make” because it is easy to understand that, at this level, the plural is necessary and it cannot be otherwise, speaking about Françoise Calcagno’s artistic development because she herself is plural, absolutely plural, as in freed from herself; or rather, this is her single objective. All those artists that have intimately and resolutely accepted the challenge of the avant-gardes are plural. The subject, in the very moment that he/she manages to represent, emerges from him/herself and merges into the relationship with the represented object. Representing is a gesture. A gesture can be completed. The represented object remains as a trace of that gesture. What remains of the experience is what is precious. Even the tiniest scrap. Artists who have really studied are able to free themselves from the object, not assuming its form. Françoise Calcagno is at the point of being so free from any kind of subject/object dependence to be, in this phase, subject/subject and at this level she, like some of her artistic contemporaries, meditating on and within matter, on super-matter, makes plural selves in the first and third persons. The First avant-garde freed the artist from the ideology of the object, an idol, the Second from the object itself, substituting thought for ideology, going on to substitute even the object with thought, and this is why the object, or artwork, is in itself nothing other than the discard of a thought; a vestige of solid material, necessary for the super-matter or plasma of something else. The Third avant-garde will transport us to the freedom from the subject. Our masters have spoken about this and there is no doubt it is coming soon, at a time we will bear witness to. So what we produce exploits matter and materials, as previously stated, that are complete in themselves, formed and living. Calcagno assumes the quality of this matter itself to give an appearance to all that which qualitatively does not in-sist in this state of matter, to give once again a visible and shareable form to thought. Memory is once again material, it is super-memory, and it is its appearance, with no separation. The appearances of what, in themselves, are qualitatively more solid - matter and energy - are juxtaposed, they merge and oppose each other and this is all visible. This appearance becomes and is transfigured in everything we believe we know: wood, canvas, backgrounds of pigment, water, sand or glass, which we don’t really see but whose quality we perceive. Do we really understand the qualitative and quantitative differences of the substances we use? Matter exists and we are not able to perceive anything other than the fusion and transformation of matter. It is certain that matter, from a completely formed and living subject, becomes an object, or rather, material, when we use it, manipulate it. Nevertheless the memory of it as subject remains. The wish of a memory is to return to the present time, the wish of the present time is to return to non-time. Even when matter, the complete living subject, is reduced to an object, it maintains sparks of the matter within, created, wanted and kept alive; these then remain, otherwise it would revert to non-being, to thought life. Still today artists give a sense to their being via action, and intellectual will is responsible for the weakening of materials: from their intrinsic clarity and pertinent depth, towards an uncertain and arguable new dimension, with the risk that vitalised, transparent subjects bathed in light become opaque objects. Calcagno wants to maintain the its memory in order to be able to return to this state. It is the memory of the future, not a recalling of the past, and it is the need to become third person plural, to not separate. Time + thought, these materials are the substance, and their fusion what we call memory. These few words hope to have shed some light on Calcagno‘s conceptual research as far as it is anchored on the principle of super-memory as super-matter-ial of experimentation, of study and meditation. The vast difference between studying something we anchor ourselves to and meditating on it is plain for all to see. In the study phase we build and develop a thought that constitutes the nourishment for our minds, and though it is a filling, in the meditation we cancel ourselves in thought. We are empty. The super-memory exists only at extremely high temperatures, where all the atoms are separate from others close by and all are deprived of external electromagnetic shells.

Epilogue: from the nucleus of Memory Map number[…], a surface by Françoise Calcagno [mem]ory in the form of crystal skies and clouds, fire-flowers-fire/fire! The wait attributes a position to every fragment of memory, in an unnatural calmness. [mem]ory of the change of state: be it by freezing or fusion, the stillness of atoms is unnatural. It is the change that defines, in passing and for an infinitesimal moment, the nominal position. [mem]ory of the power of state. The border between states is a membrane, a permeable, elastic film. Stillness is unnatural. Movement is the memory of the previous state, between the intolerance of constriction and recognition. The change is a creation of surfaces. [memory]. The surface is a truly fine area.

Luca Cristofoli