Bodies that can not do too much

/ 23 May, 2015

Many times, at that bar that others call La Fabrica (The Factory) I have explored the false walls of its mezzanine with vain efforts. Images that intrigue, seduce and deceive me are hanging there promising something else –promising is a quite simple task-, as that hard-line between heaven and other things that will always be a little bit further and you ‘ll never get.

Images , static and moving images, all under the weight of a serious and strange assertion labeled at the beginning of the room: Nobody knows what a body can do. After that, I want to see, I want to look, I want to explore these promised possibilities. I take a step and another in that labyrinth and there are bodies, body parts, but only humiliated bodies, mutilated bodies, tortured bodies, dead bodies: bodies that speak and bodies that silence. Bodies that get hidden when displaying what they are not, what they can and do not want.

The sensation, the same in the many times I have dared confronting these bodies, pieces of lives and simulations, is that something is missing, something I want to see, I always want, and something that is denied, not given, censored to me.

Finally, one night, after four beers (and perhaps some more, but that detail is entirely expendable now), I discover the deceit, fraud. The bodies, any body, can do more, much more . Not everything is suffering in this life. And there, that is missing.

Of course that suffering and, more than suffering, showing, displaying, decorating, discoursing and dealing with suffering, loneliness, absence and pain is an option, but that’s just what bodies can’t do, at least for long, and that and only that is what I see there in that maze so white and at so high temperature.

What bodies do can, want and sometimes even get it, is to enjoy. The body lives there, in pleasure, and there gives life. And there is no joy, no just a minimal, solitary atom of joy in these pictures: there is pain, lacerations, screams, terror; all what no body wants, and ultimately what can not, what destroys, humiliates and finishes them.

Then it comes, inevitably, the question I ask myself as I would do it to any school boy: Why? And it is not bad; people can bear beats at choice, but why? Why when thinking of a sample (you finally end up saw it that way, if you want) of all that a body, the body can or could do, the artist chooses just hang on these walls just what the body can’t do, do not want and in addition do not need?

Maybe it’s a prejudice; it may be démodé and vain, frowned upon and poorer valued, showing the joy, satisfaction, pleasure, laughter, happiness. Perhaps it is more effective and dramatic , and even better paid, to show the pain and all its disenchantments, in a world, what a contradiction, in which the clumsy way in which I, this nearsighted, colorblind and astigmatic being, see things, requires the opposite.

But I ‘m not the artist, I am only the one looking dissatisfied, the one who wants more, and can almost never get just more of the same and almost always less than what is labeled.

Ernesto Pérez Castillo

Ernesto Pérez Castillo

La Habana, 1968. Escritor. Premio de Novela de la UNEAC por Haciendo las cosas mal (2008). Ha publicado los libros de cuentos Bajo la bandera rosa (2009), Filosofía barata (2006) y las novelas Medio millón de tuercas (2010) y El ruido de las largas distancias (2011).

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Grettel Trujillo

20 July, 2019

It is a pleasure to read Castillo’s thoughts. Beautiful.

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