Art Lies, Volume 3, October-November 1994 Page: 5
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LA CORDILLERA ENAMORADA
by Donald Calledare
I never wanted to believe in boundaries, but we linger be-
tween true intent and mere entertainment locked inside unre-
solved value matrices, concentrating on the composite of
what is worst in one another, in seas of red dust, rusted psy-
ches, adrift in stagnant arroyos. As friends or as countries
we become binding, constricting, often to absolute extremes,
like the spider which must wrap its poisoned prey in a co-
coon lest the injected enzymes cause its limbs to fall apart at
the seams faster. The spider prefers to suck its victim dry all
at once, and we want another's love all to ourselves, so we
wrap the other, create categories, delineate mandates, set up
peculiar embargoes, in the name of our territory, in the name
of self-reliance, democracy, etc., but maybe unlike the spider
we destroy unintentionally. Self-deceivers and seducers, we
also practice homeopathy, that branch of medicinal philoso-
phy that treats a symptom with its own causes, like fighting
fire with fire.
I walked into Poison/Amor with my versions of barriers and
cages, personal glass floors, security carpets, and categories
of dangling emotions, some asleep, some wide awake, watch-
ful like cerberus, Hades guardian beast. I could not see any-
thing in the show until I realized that the dogs were real; de-
spite the precedent coyote theatrics of Joseph Beuys which
this brought to mind, seeing these animals inside the gallery
was immediately liberating. I believe that it was Rene Char
who remarked that after the Vedas were written and ex-
pounded by the wisest and most ancient sages, God decided
a fifth Veda, the Arts, was needed as the prophets had failed
so miserably in their work. The insertion of a living catalyst
in Poison/Amor created a link and an exit from my inner
brooding, this led to interpreting the rest of the show one
piece at a time, as a potential homeopathic mirror calibrated
to reflect not only the border problems between countries but
interpersonal conflicts and all their underlying ground.
In erecting imaginary personal or national boundaries, we
may end up positing and inflaming the difficulties of sharing
a planet whose survival depends on a wholistic outlook.
The boundaries between the sciences, as presented in
schools, are only an expedient measure; chemistry, biology,
physics, can't be studied alone as they form an inseparable
whole, reaching into philosophy and philology. Wittgenstein
propositioned that "like everything metaphysical, the har-
mony between thought and reality is to be found in the
grammar of the language." In our case the language is art.
By identifying ourselves with the perceptible, the determin-
able. to that which lends itself to discussion. we form a
boundary layer upon which subsequent activity may be per-
formed. This does not require profundity, does not have to
be silly either, we merely adapt to chaos in increments.
Propositions and art shows are such increments.
Boundary zones can act as pockets of recognition, and not
solely as separation markers, depending upon viewpoint. A
wall can signify safety, or a warning, a reminder that some-
thing deeper is at work here. While the yellow/red/yellow/
black stripe pattern around the drawing that shares its title
with the show may seem ornamental but it is not: it is the
same pattern as that of the deadly coral snake's skin. What
is more interesting and possibly serendipitous is discovering
that the dog which would not stop barking opening night just
happens to be deaf. A curious myth connects reliance on the
sense of smell to presence in the infernal regions of the spirit
world, the inverse of Ariadne's thread. Without being too
literal, since a sight could have irritated the animal, clues and
catalysts do not need perfect correspondence, but only to set
something in motion. Nevertheless, it was a disappointment
to find a $2.58 hardware store price sticker on the blue light
bulb of Allen's $25,000.00 wire head in his companion show
at Moody Gallery; was that an aesthetic decision?
If our skins are merely illusory boundaries, are our artistic
creations also just simulacra, or do they effect transcendent
experience, say, a Tex-Mex-perience or Max-beer-ience?
Deleuze and Guattari, in reference to Freud's ignorance to-
wards multiplicity and plurality, quote "Franny is listening to
a program on wolves. I say to her, 'Would you like to be a
wolf?' She answers haughtily, 'How stupid, you can't be
one wolf, you're always eight or nine, six or seven!'" This
is how I felt in seeing the two dogs, the sense of a pack at
work, though shortly afterwards the system of representation,
the arena, forced me to abstract to a lesser position, devoid
of the intended intensities, because galleries and their modus
operandi remain sight and time specific, domesticated, cut
with sugar, when a much wilder, raw experience, more dis-
turbing, could be fashioned. It is almost as if we are pre-
tending that we cannot unlock certain doors whose walls
contain intelligence and resources, with which to juggle such
forces and materials and parameters to create/re-create and
not delay orchestration. In our case there are no wolves, but
two of their "descendants", looking out from a cage at us.
Like a true pack of wolf-like marauders somewhere in
Texico, we listen to the recorded sounds of the Southwestern
desert, not eyes but ears to canvas, feet straddled across elec-
tric wires, sipping ridiculous fin-de-sidcle champagne at
openings, where we gawk at the beauty of an internal-
combustion engine entirely and immaculately sheathed with
snake skin, while complacency meters are sounding their
alarms, but we, like that dog, are deaf.
Here’s what’s next.
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Huerta, Benito; Ballou, Chris & Loftus, Kelley. Art Lies, Volume 3, October-November 1994, periodical, October 1994; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228036/m1/5/?rotate=270: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .