Recent works by Luvier Casali
“We are nomads arisen from the crumbling of sedentarism” Vilem Flusser
Luvier Casali, after a physical and temporary separation of two years, presents his latest work done in France. They are a series of prints on paper, in book format and as graphic work; a trilogy of experimental videos, as well as photographic records about such publishing and audiovisual experience.
The project is called Notre petit immigré, a phrase in French that, for the artist, summarizes the circumstances of life experienced when moving to another land. The journey, from one place to another, of the planet; the exodus as an excuse for this narrative of identity; a search that millions of human beings made theirs. A transit to a new growth, be this emotional as well as creative.
As we have mentioned, this work is composed by a graphic, a photographic and an audiovisual sections. Its different degrees of expression explore diverse fields of the image; from the line and expressiveness of gesture of the drawing (through the engraving), to the digital image of still and motion photography. Three stages that attempt to capture existential vicissitudes and the awareness of the motion.
Being an autobiographical exercise, there is a relationship between what is real and the very present image; it proposes us to watch a part of Luvier Casali´s own life, a pseudo-anthropology is suggested through this visual gesture. A gesture that leads us straight to the body, the soul of an artist taken as an universal subject, torn in the narcissism of his permanent exposure.
All these images aspire to become a file. A singular file, into which there is space for documents, but these are clearly fictions; therefore it cannot be guaranteed that all of this would be a reflection of reality. The private and intimate world of the artist can only interest us if it brings these symbols closer to us, make us to take a stand about what is real, or about what is real underlying these symbols.
The engraving, the photography and audiovisual media are kindred practices, only show technological advancements throughout time. These multiple facets of the works of Casali are directed toward the same thematic objective, the narrative thread being upheld by the idea of connections between them, linking them technically.
The artist´s figure represents in itself the immigrant idea. He is someone who has moved away from the rules of the conventional world, has grown apart from the social core and moved away from this center by own choice. The sedentary life, the “real world” is not enough for the artist, who is always a foreigner, even within his own society.
The video trilogy made by the artist months ago, bring the viewer to a dramatization of the migrant archetype, one of long-suffering traits: the balsero who depends upon its sole physical strength. A sailor on his precarious vessel, his shipwrecks and the arrival on terra firma would be the metaphors which identify existential events.
The series is composed of the videos Notre petit immigré, El balsero, and Le pelerin; they are records of performances played in chosen stages. Images of a strong materiality, in black and white and in color; fisheye frames sometimes; and also of a sonic nature, with dramatic melodies, echoes and silences, Video portraits of a minimal epic, an atlas of fragmented fictions.
They are video art pieces bordering on the experimental, actions of a certain drama, going through different levels, from non-narrative aspects to others more narrative. Among them we piece together the story: a precarious vessel carrying the illusion of our Ulysses, who also has a lot of Narcissus in his turbulent watery mirror.
The last video, entitled Le pelerin, records his path in an empty church, which the artist has stripped of all its furniture and decorations. And he points out “always carrying mi raft, or perhaps the past that I bring along with me, as an immigrant that I am”.
The wandering is the heart of the Notre petit immigré project, a series of short movies that try to bring us closer to the hardships of exile, scattering the fragments of subjectivity along this march. The recognizable symbolic elements in these works clearly emerge: The man, the water, the ship, the shore, a church.
This representation of the journey has a deep sense of personal experience; whoever leaves his homeland has the opportunity to become a guest of the world. But it is not easy to do this outside the familiar and social nest; the obsession of the idealized memories of the country constantly resurfaces. Above all, one has to overcome the laziness of clinging to the memories of who was one, to the safety of a firm image.
To achieve this, and not to fall into the nostalgia of his unique identity, the emigrant must establish his thought at the antipodes of the homeland that he has left behind, all the representations of habits and customs inside the mind. To acquire others, even at the cost of giving away the former ones, to integrate and enjoy them.
As a foreigner abroad, first of all one discovers all the strange things that are inside oneself, and could undergo a therapy of self-knowledge and growth. Without Ithaca to return to and Penelope to wait for us, it is left to us to wish for the road back of our artist to last a long time.
Cologne, February, 2009