Interview Ulises Carrión
Lilia Prado Superstar
The Lilia Prado Superstar Festival opened at the Kriterion Cinema on July 4th. It was the idea and initiative of Ulises Carrión. The four films which formed the program, by Tito Davison, Luis Buñuel, Ismael Rodriguez and Gilberto Martinez Solares all came from the early 1950's and, after Amsterdam, were shown on successive days in Rotterdam, Groningen and Arnhem, in the presence of the star. In this festival, which centred on an actress who is unknown here, Ulises Carrión projected the three dimensional enlargement of a youthful dream, and at the same time put into perspective the impressions and ideas arising from his experiences within a local cultural context. The choice of the film star with an autobiographical given as what could be called a motive was the alibi for the influence of this cultural offering on our country. What film history and stardom are like in reality, is described by Sabrina Kamstra. In the interview with Max Bruinsma, Ulises Carrión talked about his intentions in manipulating cultural givens.
Precisely, and that's lovely for art historians because then they have their role and can explain to the public at large how that ‘personal world’ finds expression. Actually, I find this a negation of the history of this century's art: Duchamp, the Futurists, Dada stand completely outside the ‘personal world.’ I've chosen exactly the opposite perspective: that of ‘Cultural Strategies.’ ‘Culture’ is something greater for me than ‘personal.’ It's not only to do with internal feelings but also with everything external. And ‘strategies’ I chose because ‘worlds’ is static for me and ‘strategie’ is action.’
Yes, a plan that must be performed along particular lines and you have to seek out those lines for yourself. That's very important: you plan the strategy yourself, it doesn't exist, you make it yourself. To execute such a complex project, you have to make so many personal decisions that how could you possibly avoid expressing your ‘personal world’! Much more than in an art object. It's just more complex and thus more difficult to see. But it's there. You still have to choose out of hundreds of things, people, processes, lengths of time, places. I have had to make many more personal decisions than if I painted! It's much richer. It's crazy, but mainly when someone asks me why I do something, it appears ultimately that I have a very formal approach because I create only a specific structure and the people and things are filled in afterwards. That seems very formal, but for me it's ... I work with such concrete things. I make a structure and let that structure be itself, become palpable. And concerning the form: I find that the elements which make up the project are in themselves already so rich and varied that I have absolutely no need to stick my intentions on top of it.
Yes, at the moment it was an intuitive attempt to reach the public. It's quite apart from my own youthful dreams. Look, it's a question of perspective. I am certain that in the mental image of the 12 year-old boy, of course, there is still some truth in it but I don't want to put too much emphasis on it.
Because it's already familiar! People can identify that element. But for me it's the least important. Of course I'm aware that all my feelings and frustrations and so on are present in my work; that element already existed in, for instance, painting. While the element of organization, of enterprise was not present in visual art. That's why I want to underline it, the rest was already so well-known: sure, somebody expressing his youth in a strange way, we all know about that!
My ideal is to be invisible, such a natural part of your environment that nobody notices you any more, that is my dream. A festival like this must also happen in a very ordinary way: people go to the cinema, buy a ticket, go inside and that's it. I've... I don't know how this sounds, but I've changed their reality and they don't know it!
I've chosen consciously for the making of art as an enterprise. That's of essential importance for me. Painting's not the model for me, but opera, film, drama. For me, an enterprise means many factors of different natures: people, machines, time, objects, processes, places, and there is somebody who gives a direction to all these factors: the artist. For me, that's at the heart of everything. In opera or film, you have the decors, the music, the actors and so on, but there is somebody who directs all this. The discovery that it was not the actors but the director who made the film was, at the time, very important for me.
Simply, the product is the changing of culture as it stands. But that's, of course, God knows how old! I mean, since the Futurists, since Dada, since Duchamp, it's no use talking about the form or the colour and those sort of things. And about the soul of Art. After Duchamp, you can't talk about the soul of Art any more!