Martina Kaiser
Cologne Contemporary Art

INTERVIEW WITH UMBERTO CICERI    2009

UMBERTO CICERI IS AN ARTIST WHO HAS BEEN DOING A PASSIONATE RESEARCH WORK SINCE THE 80s, WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SHOWED TO ANYONE.

ORIGINALLY FROM MILAN, BUT NOW BASED IN BOLOGNA, HE WORKS IN HIS STUDIO IN VIA VINAZZETTI AND LIVES IN A HOUSE IN THE WOODS IN THE APENNINES MOUNTAINS.

BUT WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO PRESENT YOUR WORK TO THE PUBLIC ONLY NOW?

MY RESEARCH WORK HAS BEEN A LONG AND PRIVATE EXPERIMENT.

NEW REFLECTIONS HAVE CAUSED AN URGENT FEELING OF SHARING.

AND WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND?

A RECENT EXPERIENCE. IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE PAIN YOU CAN’T PRODUCE ART.

THEY SAY ART IS BORN FROM THE ARTIST’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE IDENTITY OF THE SELF, THE WORLD AND FEELING OF DEATH…

THEY ALSO SAY THAT THE GREAT ARTISTIC CREATIONS ARE JUST TIME MODULATIONS, MODIFIED BY THE GRAVITY OF GRACE OR EVIL, TODAY I FEEL I HAVE MATERIAL THAT LITERALLY NEEDS AN AUDIENCE

 

YOU HAVE STUDIED SUBJECTS LIKE NEUROPHYSIOLOGIC PERCEPTION, QUANTUM THEORY, AND PERPETUUM MOTION, HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THEMES THAT ARE SO COMPLEX?

I FOUND A MATRIX IN A TECHNOLOGY FOR WHICH YOU DON’T NEED ANY INTERMEDIARY FOR READING, NO HARDWARE NOR SOFTWARE, NO PROBLEMS RELATED TO ITS OBSOLESCENCE, YOU ONLY NEED PRESENCE, VISION AND MOBILITY, i.e. SPACE, LIFE AND TIME, LIKE A HEAP OF MY STUDIES

WHICH TECHNOLOGY?

IT IS CALLED LENTICULAR,  THE CONCEPT OF LENS AS EXTENSION OF THE ORDINARY SENSES, IT IS CALLED LENTICULAR BUT CHANGED IT THE WAY I DID, IT HAS BEGUN " HYPERTRAIT "

LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS MEDIUM, ALL YOUR WORK HAS THIS NAME...

THE TERM HYPERTRAIT WAS COINED BY ANGELO MANCINI, A PHILOSOPHER FRIEND, HYPERTEXT AND PORTRAIT ARE FUSED TOGETHER IN A PROCESS ACTIVATING IMPLICATIONS IN A “NAVIGABLE” SYNTAX, USUALLY THE OBSERVER IS EXCLUDED FROM THIS, HAVING IN FRONT OF HIM ONLY THE ENDING PHASE OF A LONG BATTLE, HERE INSTEAD HE IS ALWAYS INVOLVED

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “INVOLVED”?

IT’S HIS MOTION IN FRONT OF THE PIECE OF ART WHICH DETERMINES THE NARRATION, THE SPEECH IMPLICIT IN THE WORK ITSELF, IT’S WHAT MOVES WITHOUT BEING MOVED

IT THEREFORE PROVOKES AND TRIGGERS OFF AN INTENSE CREATIVE PARTICIPATION, THE OBSERVER IS REALLY THE ENGINE OF THE WORK...

IN THE HYPERTRAIT IT IS A UNICUUM REALISING IN A VERY SIMPLE WAY A COMPLEX RESULT, IT IS ALWAYS A PERFORMANCE OF INCONSCIOUS MESSAGES WITHIN ACTIONS

AND THE OTHER MEDIA?

OBJECT, CHARACTER, PERCEPTION, ACTION, REPETITION, CHANCE NATURE, ALL ASSUME A DENSITY OF MEANING WHICH ESCAPES FROM THE FILM SPEED, AS IT DOES TO THE PICTURE IMMOBILITY, BECAUSE THESE ARE PASSIVE ENJOYMENTS

ARE THESE SOME TYPE OF ACTIONS SUSPENDED IN A TIME WHICH IT REPEATS ITSELF AS MANY TIMES AS THE OBSERVER WANTS?

THEY ARE NOT REPETITIONS BUT REVOLUTIONS, CONCEPTUALLY THE ACTION DOES NOT REPEAT ITSELF BUT IT CONNECTS TO THE PRECEDENT WHICH REFERS TO THE NEXT, THERE’S LIFE AND THERE’S DEATH AND THERE’S LIFE AGAIN, THERE IS THE COMPLETE CYCLE, A CONTINUOUS READAPTATION IN A PERCEPTIVE ENVIRONMENT IN BECOMING. EVERY BEGINNING IS JUST A FOLLOWING

THE SUBJECT IS A TYPE OF BAIT?

THE SUBJECT IS ALWAYS A BAIT WHICH GRADUALLY NEEDS TO VANISH AND LEAVE SOME RESIDUES THAT WE CAN RECOGNIZE AS REALITY, THE CHOICE OF SUBJECTS WOULD LIKE TO EMBRACE SOME FIELDS OF HUMAN FEELING AND BEHAVIOUR

FOR EXAMPLE?

I TRY TO REGISTER UNIQUE ACTIONS, HEROIC, ELEVATED BEYOND HUMAN BEINGS, RAISED TO THE PODIUM AROUND WHICH I HOPE THEY ACTIVATE IMPLICATIONS FOR ANY TYPE OF SENSIBLE LEVEL

REALITY OR APPEARANCE?

BECAUSE REALITY AND APPEARANCE ARE BOTH AMBIGUOUS, THIS WAY TO REGISTER THE ACTION IS CLOSER TO THE REALITY BECAUSE OF ITS AMBIGUITY IN REGISTERING,

IT’S NO COINCIDENCE THAT REALITY CHANGES WITH THE DIFFERENT SYMBOLISM WITH WHICH SOCIETY LOOKS AT THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM OVER THE TIME AXIS, THE ONLY REAL THING IS THE PERCEPTION, A SORT OF SEMIOTIC CONTRABAND

ART AS REGISTRATION?

YES, HYPERTRAIT IS A TRAP, I TRY TO REGISTER A VITAL ACTION, CAPTURING IT ALIVE IN A SORT OF CAGE FROM WHICH IT CANNOT ESCAPE ANY LONGER

AFTERWARDS...

THIS ACTION IS DECOMPOSED AND RECOMPOSED THROUGH PULSATIONS IN WHICH CHANCE NEEDS ALWAYS TO INTERVENE, THEN DISSOLVED BY A BLURRED, ANTI-ILLUSTRATIVE OPERATION, THEN RECONDENSED AND REFOCUSED BY THE OBSERVER NERVOUS SYSTEM

IT ALWAYS NEEDS A FINISHING TOUCH...

YES, AS I SAID IT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED THROUGH VISUAL INSTINCTS, THE IMAGE STRENGTH IS WELLED WHEN IT IS BORN FROM THE OBSERVER’S UNCONSCIOUS AND OPERATES THROUGH VISION, IT IS A SYMBIOTIC PROCESS BETWEEN THE ACTION TRAPPED IN THE WORK AND THE OBSERVER ACTION MOVING IN FRONT.

IT’S NOT THE IMAGE WE SEE WE NEED TO PUT AGAIN INTO FOCUS, BUT THE VISION IT PRODUCES.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IS SUBJECTIVE BY DEFINITION

IS THE EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FOR EACH OF US?

THE OBSERVER NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO PERCEIVE THROUGH DIRECT KNOWLEDGE, FROM A QUANTISTIC POINT OF VIEW THE ACT OF OBSERVATION ITSELF INFLUENCES THE OBSERVED, MAKING THE ACT ITSELF SUBJECTIVE, A UNIQUE PIECE (the work) OBSERVED BY A UNIQUE PIECE (the human being)

IN A POSTPRODUCTION ERA ALL IS DOMINATED BY THE SENSE OF SIGHT, IT SEEMS THAT THE MORE THE REALITY IS FOCUSED THE TRUER IT IS...

I TOTALLY DISAGREE, THIS HYPER-REALISM LACKS A LONGING FEELING FOR SOMETHING TRANSCENDENT, AT PERCEPTIONAL LEVEL A WORK THAT IS DEFINITELY ACCOMPLISHED INHIBITS INTERACTION

...THIS IS WHY THE NON-FOCUSED IS SO DECISIVE?

OUR SPECIES GOT USED TO THE PATHOLOGY OF THE AUTHORITARIAN BORDER, NON-FOCUSED MEANS NON-AUTHORITARIAN, THE REPRESENTATION GET DISSOLVED IN SOMETHING WE CANNOT DISTINGUISH BUT IT BLENDS ON THE RETINA, WE CAN SEE IT BUT ABOVE ALL WE CAN FEEL IT, THE MYSTERY IS BEHIND THE VISIBLE DIMENSION

SIGNS OF THE UNDEFINED AS SYMPTOMS OF INFINITE?

I HAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT WE NEED TO APPEAR AT SOMETHING WE ACCEPT TO PERCEIVE AS UNDEFINED OR UNMANAGEABLE, A COGNITIVE PROCESS WHICH FREES FROM THE SPECULATIVE TYRANNY OF THE PORTRAIT

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE REAL PERSON AND ITS IMAGE IS ONE OF THE MOST RELEVANT ASPECTS OF THE HUMAN BEING...

CURRENTLY I THINK THAT PAINTING PORTRAITS COMES BEFORE THE TRADITIONAL GENRES HIERARCHY, AND THE TRADITIONAL ACADEMIC DISTINCTION BETWEEN PAINTING, PHOTOGRAPHY AND SCULPTURE HAS NO MEANING NOWADAYS, TODAY WE SHOULD RELATE WITH A UNIQUE MEDIUM

AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE SIMILARITY ISSUE?

THE SUBJECT MUST BE KNOWN IN ORDER TO BE RECOGNIZED, GENERALLY I INTERVIEW HIM FOR A LONG TIME, WHAT REALLY INTERESTS ME IS THE SPECULATIVE POTENTIAL THAT EVERYONE OF US KNOWS TO HAVE AND KNOWS HOW TO MANAGE, WHICH COMES FROM THE OBSESSION OF OUR OWN CORRESPONDING IMAGE WITH RESPECT TO THE ONE OTHERS DEDUCE, TO LOOK INNOCENT BEING GUILTY AND NATURALLY VICE VERSA

QUOTING UMBERTO ECO, HOW MANY HAVE NOT BEEN CONDEMNED TO BE BURNED AT THE STAKE BECAUSE THEIR FACE WAS TESTIFYING AGAINST THEIR SOUL?

THE ATTEMPT IS TO DESTABILIZE THIS SPECULATIVE POTENTIAL, IF THE EFFIGY DISSOLVES, WHAT’S LEFT IS MORE PERMEABLE, I USE THIS IMPOSED FORM OF SHORTSIGHTNESS AND I THINK TO BE BLIND OR NOT IS NOT RELEVANT WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT THERE’S REALLY SOMETHING TO OBSERVE, I THINK IT’S CALLED COGNITIVISM

ARE WE TALKING ABOUT INTERNAL DIMENSION?

HYPERTRAIT DOES NOT WANT TO BE A PRODUCT BUT A PROCESS, IT DOES NOT PORTRAY BUT IT GOES ON BEYOND THE STATIC “HERE AND NOW”, IT EXPANDS AND IT TAKES UP A NON-PHYSICAL SPACE, THE SUBJECT MUST SEE HIMSELF CAPTURED ALIVE, HE MUST RECOGNIZE HIS EMANATION, HIS ENERGY, BECAUSE THERE IS THE APPEARANCE AND THE ENERGY INSIDE THE APPEARANCE

FINALLY NAKED?

TODAY EVERYTHING IS EXPOSED BUT IT IS NOT REAL NUDITY, THE NAKED BODY IS ALWAYS HIDDEN BY AESTHETICS, HERE WE TRY TO REVEAL THE NAKED PROPERTY OF MAKING BODY WITH HIMSELF

WHY DO THEY STILL TRY TO “REMAKE” THINGS?

TODAY THE WORLD CHANGES SIGNIFICANTLY DURING A LIFE TIME OF A HUMAN BEING, INSTINCTS CHANGE AND THIS CHANGE RENEWS THE NEED TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF ALL THE SENSITIVE FIELDS WE ARE AWARE OF, EVEN IF...

EVEN IF...

IT PREVAILS A FEELING OF UNSUITABILITY OF OUR SPECIES OF LISTENING THE TEACHINGS OF REAL LIFE, HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF, MISTAKES RECURRING, AN "UNEN - FIGHT"

SO THERE’S NOTHING INNOCENT IN THE INTERPRETATION?

IN ART HUMAN BEINGS FIND INFORMATION ON THE VIOLENCE THAT IS FALLING ON THEIR PSYCHE, IT FORCES THEM TO PUT THEIR CERTAINTIES INTO MOTION

WE GO BACK AND TALK ABOUT “MOTION”...

ALL NATURE IS ANIMATED BY PERPETUUM MOTION, WE NEED TO LEARN TO THINK IN MOTION, THE MEANING IS ALWAYS IN THE PERSON INTERPRETING, AND THE PERSON INTERPRETING IS IN THE CHAOS FLUX, FINALLY HE CANNOT PLAN

THE WEB IS THINKING IN MOTION?

THE WEB MOST INNOVATIVE ASPECT IS THE USERS’ ACTIVE PARTICIPATION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION, PEOPLE WILL FIND OUT TO HAVE COMPATIBLE IDEAS, KNOWLEDGE JOINING THE FRAGMENTS, BIG IS ALWAYS DONE BY THE SMALL

SO SIMILES IN THE DIFFERENCES AND UNITY IN THE DIVERSITY?

YES, AN EVOLUTIONARY CHANGE, EVERYBODY IS NOT ONLY A LIFE, BUT THE LIFE, IN EVERY LIFE THE ENTIRE LIFE

AND THE SACRED?

THE SACRED IS THE ARCHAIC BASE OF THE TURBULENCE, THE ROOT OF EVERY BELIEF, MYSTICAL OR SCIENTIFIC, IT IS FOUNDED ON AN ABSTRACT CODE, AND AN ABSTRACT CODE IS MYTHOLOGY, OF MASSIVE IMPORTANCE BUT WITHOUT ANY TOTALITARIAN AUTHORITY

LET’S FINISH...

 

SEX MIXES THE GENES AND EVERY HUMAN BEING IS A UNIQUE PIECE,

ALL UNIQUE ALL DIFFERENT ALL EQUAL, FOR ME THE ENCOUNTER WITH THE SACRED IS THE UNIQUE PIECE