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The Real and the Absent
The attraction of the real. Allusion to it. A peek in at its abyss out of an obsession to describe. To grasp what is indescribable. To aprehend what is ephemeral ¡n waht is per-manent. A sparkle of unknown ori-qin which will not recur. üescribing as discovering. The pertect, complete discovery of something unknown. To turn to the obvious so as to hit on the unwonted. To experience the astonishment of witnessing a world we can't quite understand. Small events, minute episodes of matter. imperceptible events, cap-tured for consciousness. A dense anecdote, full of meaning and enigmas. Those minuscule stones laten! behind the creases in a canvas. Microcosm. To approach the real so as to escape to other worlds. Towards what is importan!, towards what is in rea-lity, though absent. Fleeting. Elusive.
Nostalgia. A rnelancholic versión of time, deterioration being its measu-re and evidence. Decline. As for life, only traces. Trails of human progress. Tokens of deeds or auguries of whal is ye! to come. No agonists for this drama. No action or passion bu! in things.
In their apparent irrelevance. Those minimal, observed tragedles.
To edúcate one's gaze. Direct it. Exercise it in order to see the world and find something different in it. Or perhaps to find the world itself, its neglected, forgotten forms. The worldly ways of aesthetics. A guide to the hidden paths of beauty.
Art as a means to a superior art. A didactic art. Learn lo see in order to see further, keep seeing, uve through the act of seeing. Unexpected aesthelics. Small anonymous harmonios. True abs-Iraction: unnamed forms. Laws oí being, yet not of saying. At the very heart of mere Irifles. A democracy of signs. Respecl things. Let them A serene, mature art. Not enticed by originality or Iransgression; vain, trile impulses. Not looking forwards, but inwarcls. A humble, sincere att. Based on the unexpectedness of discovery, rather than on invention. Desire for reality. Earthly nourish-ment. The substance of things. Sensuality imbued with a shame-less search for pleasure. A frank, forthright, unaffected search. The art, or pleasure, of being ¡n the world. The work of art as a mere excuse for an experience. Stimulus and construction ¡n a subject. And linally, lorget the real. Search lor signs of what is not there, of what exists only in our amnesia: depict the ghosts of our fantasies. And remain, waiting for the Other. He who arrives and finds his kin-dred there, hovering over those gray shadows.
The work of art: that unveiling of other people's dreams. Aesthetic communication: embracing our own ghosts with those of the Other. A fantastic love. Two gazes mee-ting in the same mirror.
NORBERTO CHAVES, on Ihe work of Ferran Freí xa.
Barcelona, september 1994


III Bienal