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  • Eric Carlos Bertrand

Santa Croce as an in situ for the elaboration of a schizophrenic discourse on art

Dernière mise à jour : 16 oct. 2020

by Eric Carlos Bertrand








"Les scientifiques d'aujourd'hui commencent eux aussi à marcher vers la douleur, à laisser choir leurs petites souffrances, leurs petits scandales, la petite dialectique et le misérable "travail du concept". Ils savent que celui-ci est l'imposture même, que ce qui travaille n'est pas le concept, que le concept est le capital qui fait semblant de travailler, mais qui détermine les conditions du travail, qui délimite les dehors et les dedans, les autorisés et les interdits, qui sélectionne et qui valorise, qui investit, qui réalise, que le concept est commerce, mais que le mouvement, la force de ce commerce n'est pas le concept, cette pauvre petite souffrance d'universitaire radical-socialiste."

Lyotard, Jean-François, Économie Libidinale






At its inception, conceptual art explored the intricate web linking visual and material manifestations of art with their deeper underlying symbolic, psychological and and meanings. Today, it seems, the word "concept" aptly characterizes a type of verbiage used by artists and publicists alike, designed to seduce peers, critics and prospective buyers. The concept's pertinence has been downgraded to that of the slogan's: a kind of verbal vaseline that glosses over the technical and symbolic imperfections of objects to ease their penetration into the market as products.


Psychoanalysis has undergone a similar fate. As Edwards Bernays quickly understood, his uncle Freud's theories on the unconscious would afford industry and politicians with precious new tools to manipulate the desired of the unsuspecting public. It could be stated without exagération that Bernay's contributions have had more impact than Oppenheimer's, paving the way as they have for a hostile takeover of the human psyche by major corporations and by governments. Bernays shock when faced with the possibility Goebbels might have used his book Cristalizing Public Opinion to design the Nazi's plans for the jewish people is difficult to


Thus, while the unconscious has remained a playground for a few spelunkers of the psyche, the overwhelming majority has left its tending to forces with questionable intentions.


Indeed, you might ask, what's the use of understanding when you can convince? Yet, it's obvious that something is broken. Yet, when creating, praying or on the therapist's couch, language and desire just won't align. We have forgotten how to render proper homage to our gods, or to keep our highest hope sacred. Dyonisios is already rearing his ugly head, and it's a problem of language.


The speculations herein included constitute a kind of literary playground. They are attempts to, all at once, construct a comprehensive conceptual background for my work, to test the limits of conceptual armatures that underlie the production, the theorization and interpretation of art, to craft a language that reconnects imagination and reality and to use poetics and humour as means of circumventing the ideological traps that subject art production to the whims of an increasingly polarized society.


On this voyage we will be traveling on the wings of fellow spelunkers Deleuze, Lyotard, Freud, Canetti, Machiavelli, Heidegger, Dante, Girard, Lefort, Nietzsche, Didi-Huberman, Debors, Galileo, Stendhal, Vasari, Meucci... There will be encounters lesser known characters, Like Daniel DanielPaul Schreber, Anton Francssco Gori, Antonio Cocchi, Giovani Targioni Tozzetti, Angelo Maria Bandini, among others. It's a motley crew, but, as they've been with me for a while, I've given myself the leasure to treat them with the familiarity and informality that is customary of friendship. In other words, as the popular Mexican saying goes, it's better to be the house dog than a close friend, (mejor perro de casa que amigo de confianza), meaning that the former is more likely to know where the food is stored and that it might be forgiven for leaving a little surprise on the host's carpet.









Tout a commencé par cette apparition incarnée en 2011 dans un fotogramme de cinq seconde du film La société du spectacle, de Guy Debord. Ce court intervalle suffit pour que l'image se grave de manière immédiate et indélébile dans mon esprit. Un regard tranquille et profond suggère une puissance d'un esprit dont la lumière traversera le temps et l'espace, intuition confirmée quelque jours plus tard lorsque l'identité de du personnage se révéle: il s'agit de Machiavel. Ce portrait est posthume en pierre (anonyme du XVIième, de confection italienne) comme le sont fort probablement tout les portraits connus, peints sculptés ou gravés de l'auteur et politicien Italien. Quelle sont les part de fiction et de réalité entrant dans la conception des images qui font l'objet de nos adorations? Comment donne-t-on une physionomie à ces esprits qui marquent l'imagination au point d'offrir aux nôtres la certitude d'une charpente solide faite de siècles sur lesquelles nos spéculations puissent appuyer leur



During a visit to Florence in 2013. I was struck by the extent to which alternative interpretations surrounding the lives of famous florentines captured the collective imaginary. Dan Brown type conspiracy theories cast a shadow on the fruits of their labor and their incredible creativity, invading even the academic context. The sway conspiracy theories hold today aren't merely a consequence of recent developments in world politics, that their allure lies somewhere deeper in the human psyche. The emergence of "creatives" in corporate culture, the prevalence the "cold media", as understood by Mcluhan, by the grace of which art deterritorializes and gradual recodification of as another device to create market value and for the diminishing role of creativity in everyday life

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