Four moved cats

/ 1 December, 2014

An event that not shocked the world, but only the four cats that had nothing to do and were just walking around there, was the sample opened in an apartment on the 21st street, under the pompous title ” References (operating ) System” . I regret to admit it, I was not among the brave men who risked their cold and almost rainy late Saturday night, (excuses, just excuses). I just went a week later, under the threat that the pieces would be removed in only twenty-four hours.

What did I find? A boiled egg, supported against the wall, a thumbprint was printed on its shell which belonged to the poor Piero Manzoni. I asked who he was, and fellow Llópiz smiled. Serious fault: not being ignorant, but my innocent, frank, fresh way, to confess it. Two walls behind what’s left of a table, w ashed by time and poor environmental conditions for years, embedded above the eye level, of about 40 x 30 cm, previously ripped from a revolutionary façade contained the name of a certain Cedeérre (CDR, Spanish acronym for Committees for the Defense of the Revolution), and a blank space to be filled with the day and time of the neighbors´ guard duty. It was followed, ninety degrees to the left (or right, according to the viewer’s position), by a flat screen TV with Disney cartoons, but Llópiz, the curator, swore that this was not the work, but a video that was displayed into the opening and that I can not remember what it was about . Then there was a piece by Llópiz, appropriation of a famous work that reproduces Duchamp’s silhouette, to which he adds that of Santiago Sierra. After passing a door, on a low table, printed on letter sheets, there were line drawings (I was offered to take some, but I did not do it) that manipulate, by omission of random details, Raul Martinez’s figurations.

As at the end of the tour I was totally lost, I exposed my ass again and asked what the sample was about. Then it began the explanation, which lasted three hours, because Llópiz was a very talkative person. It was not evident the concept that the works conveyed, but maybe from very far: the idea, the essence was a tendency more or less obvious to the copy, and to the copy of the copy, which excels at times and sometimes overwhelms, sometimes in a playful, provocative, enlightening way, sometimes leaves at the other side of the avenue every ethical concern and any moral questioning. Then he showed me the introductory words, which read: “copying has debuted on trending, marketing topic, and it is a cyclically renewed concern in the art world. You have to recognize the subtle: escapist, fickle and nebulous difference between plagiarism, copying and the merciless use of the lack of information. “

I suddenly thought it was a complicated subject. It is known, although often forgotten: there is nothing new under the sun. In fact, to the surprise of the curator, I noted that his presentation refers that “The copy of the copy of the copy¨ was exhibited in March at the Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art in Ecuador. That is, in black and white: the pieces not only seem intentional copies, but the curatorial concept itself, the exhibition itself was neither more nor less than that: a copy.

Llópiz nodded, and argued in the same direction. There is nonsense on originality at all costs; we are always debtors, someone threw too far and earlier the first stone. But still, creators must wonder whether they say something new, or in a new way when “copying”, and they should also have some ability to blush themselves if the opposite happens. I applied in our dialogue the reverse engineering, which I clearly do not know what the hell is, but it looks great when you leave it in writing.

Anyway, I finished: we must accept it, copying is the only creative option we have left. Llópiz opened his eyes, frightened by my alarmist tendency and laughed. I let him laugh, with Aristotle in my head: “The epic and tragic poetry, and comedy and dithyrambic poetry, and most of nomic poetry, all come to be, overall, imitations”. I mean, I was not exaggerating; I just copied from Aristotle, who said it better, some about twenty- three centuries ago.

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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