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EVA MILLARES. GORLUAK
Cuenca: Fundación Antonio Pérez, 16/XII/2016-19/II/2017
EVA MILLARES: INSOLUBLE MEMORIES
(…) The free unblemished knowledge of an any Eve.
Manolo Millares, ante un dibujo de Eva que le salió igual a J. R. 19711
C’est fini le temps des poètes, aujourd’hui je dors.
Gil J. Wolman, 19522
Eva Millares Escobio 1961. That was to be the heading before writing the lines that follow. All those words could define our artist. Together with her unique year of birth, upon glancing at Manuel Millares’s chronology, that was also when he decided to get in touch with Duchamp, the anartist who took creation to its limits. Daughter of artists, for there is a reason that her surname Millares is attached to that of the LADAC painter, her mother Elvireta Escobio3.
Where was Eva when I go through my memory of the Sackcloth Artist?
Of course, among Manolo’s drawings “Eva” is the first name. In Juan Dolcet’s and Fernando Nuño’s photographs, Eva is on the floor and Manolo, giant like by her side. This little girl is a painter of monsters (already) on the floor tiles (1963) and the painter has his head cocked in contemplation. A trip to Guayana. Eva on the beach, while visiting art gallerist Lionel Cavalero´s home, “El caminito”, Cannes, at the end of the summer of 1969. The artist tells us about this in his Memoirs. She swims, golden, in the sea, and Manolo is content, during those last happy days. And those words of sorrow, others that I have read and will always remember, in the summer of 1972 with Moreno Galván in Salas de los Infantes4. The end.
And what about the nineteen sixty one?
Epic days of walls, of abducted posters, beautiful scars on the facade of torn walls: François Dufrêne, Mimmo Rotella, Raymond Hains y Jacques Villeglé5, Gil J. Wolman, or many others, also Manolo Millares. Or Alberto Greco another faceless friend6 whose Actionism and Lettrism works also seems to recall and, thus like Eva-viva-dita, deservedly partakes in the irksome Lettrist International, artists who, reminiscencing Brassaï, are able to find beauty in the least gentrified places: the play of an urban comedy set in the Street : the Wall, the scar cleaved in the bark of a tree, the letter, the message or the poster fleetingly subject to the beatings of passer byes, of games, of the wind or the rain, discoloured by the summer light. The Skin covering the surface of the city, as we walk by transforms posters into new layers of which what once was the message of the future. Yesterday or today, their music, remains buried by new papers and their paste. Their sheets densely embody new folds that are sometimes moist. Meanwhile in its metamorphosis of destruction poetic words rise as fighting sounds sprout: seemingly lyrics that are set free, phonemes, Lettrist wisps that, in such isolation, burn on the walls: “the cut”; “bavarian”, “saturday”, “plus”, “october”, “live” or “more”7. Not unlike Lovecraft’s story “The Rats in the Walls”, words unexpectedly emerged from unknown places. Gorluaks are dreams of free verse set loose, akin to Mallarmé’s, splashing mysterious bits of wreckage returned from the bottom of a shipwreck. Again like Mallarme’s poem “A Throw of Dice will Never Abolish Chance” in the space of these works: all thought has something of a throw of dice said the poet. Collages or, rather, decollages-collages whose creative cooperation was the other life, images put into poetry by the meteor’s avatars and our artist. An Ultra-lettrist, Eva Millares is a lacerated creator, I told her so a while ago when viewing her latest works. For after all a laceration, as expressed by laceré-Villeglé, is a “no”8, and as such, this a Millaresque “no”.
Under the cobblestone the beach. Eva Millares strolls along the streets, she is a flâneuse like the lacerators, and in her walks she sorrowfully contemplates her surroundings: papers on the walls, floors, inscriptions, drawings of anonymous or renown graphic street artists. Her satisfaction lies specially in establishing reverberations, rather than showing proofs, rescuing stratified posters in the noble districts of the city, seemingly assaulted by Lettrist and bohemian poetry on their walls at night. Yet her eyes scrutinize the ground9, reminding me of the sometimes inner epic intensity of Robert Walser, that other lover of impossible writings thrown into a void. Longing for the ground ,“Nostalgia de la tierra” as the philosopher Maria Zambrano would call it, the soul of our artist settles when the sound of papers ruffle beneath her feet: her tasks sometimes reveal themselves to be joyfully hermetic, from the noise one must reach silence, one has to look at what is beyond, within vision’s reach. For there is some quietism in her attitude, the artist looks at noise and chooses to silence what once was action, garrolous, to redirect it to a fruitful solitude. Now become poetry.
Thus her task extols what is ephemeral and her drawing on those papers are sometimes painted on difficult surfaces, they are between layers and on reliefs. This complexity entails sketching with lead or ink on several levels and aspiring to create a certain amount of confusion, blur, praising as we just said, all that is transitory, drawings that remain metamorphosed between hazards.
Typophile Eva is a lover of letters so like the Millares’ new Dadaism in a universe of Lettrism, like Manolo being seized by KWY’s mystic10 or by Villeglé and Hains. Since her childhood Eva is used to playing among collages of detritus, objects assembled in Millaresque sackcloths, shoes and tins, papers, mummified bags of sugar, with a scent of jute or of old rope in their studio on “calle” Hilarión Eslava11. Her tasks are somehow related to ontology spoils, the metaphysics of objects or the element fettered, an open door with the demeanor of a closed garden. Our painter tries to reach for silence, like Tàpies once said to Valente12.
It comes as no surprise that Eva shows the result of several years of work, in a place that has always been her place, this locus has been such a wunderkammern, a cabinet of curiosities. And, thus, marrying into a tradition, that of collage, of which Spain so extraordinarily has excelled at, with bringing to mind names of artists of Millares’ generation our artist has known: Farreras, Rueda or Torner, those low voices expressed on humble papers, and in a place like Cuenca and its Museum, this Perez Museum, was a space in which paper has always been conserved, even when confronted with its polite loss of prestige (Zóbel). I think of Andre Breton’s Object-Poems, “monstruos” parades that, other those we always mention, could remind us of Spain’s own Bonifacio Alfonso versus Pierre Alechinsky; also another neighbor of these walls, Lucebert. And also that other lover of walls, Dubuffet.
1961: This is a game of chronologies: that same year in which Eva is born, the artist from the Canary Islands partakes in the mythical MoMA exhibit The Art of Assemblage13, and he writes his renown text, so apt to our matter at hand, “The destruction-construction of my painting”14. All in all, it was an important year for Millares in which he made important contacts such as meeting Jose-Augusto França at chez Cordier in Paris. And Antonio Perez: who officially started his correspondence with Andarríos15 (Sandpipers).
Among our artist works, “Mohografías” were created some time ago. They are a process of construction of new images over older ones, time and hazards cooperate with their destructive insistence and eagerness. Not unlike a black hole, photographs of people, places, meeting or situations, that seem to vanish in that series: for the art of our times there is no “destruction”: after the findings and meeting with the site of her memory, the artist chose the construction of a new world, this one a real one, a world I‘d associate with dissolution, some of the images seem to blend in with Vuillard’s pale intoxication. These “Mohografías” could subscribe to some of Paul Celan’s suspended verses by nocturne tremors: “it’s a time when dust becomes your escort”. “Mohografías”, as we previously mentioned regarding lyrics, that seem to become incandescent, a transcendence derived from its poetic containment, nearly evanescence, such apparitions seem supernatural. Kafka used to say that his “stories are a way of closing one’s eyes”16, in praise to the disappearance of the orders that the stroller Walser wrote when suffering the effects of the flashing haze, as shiny as it was vague17. These images roam, like secret emotions do, seemingly telling us that their true place, where they were constructed, is in our inner soul.
Which is the real mystery of that makes certain images remain within us?
Eva looks up, draws in her breath, looks at her surroundings, lowers her gaze again to the floor. She speaks of the epic proportions of the wall and the voice from the ground. Earth and fallen leaves, cobblestones full of mud and papers, the crackle of footsteps already taken, between ruins and archaeological remains, in the forests, the towns, on the sand. Watchful in the vertigo of the big city. On pulled off papers or the wreckages that recompose our life, Gorluak composes a new floor on which to paint. Sometimes these “floors” seem agitated, spinned. Sometimes they have an air of misplaced signs Michaux style. On a bed of papers, within a certain shapeless graphic structure, realities arise, sometimes these are difficult to understand, more composed like possible images. She deconstructed and constructed some of these images, in fantastic distortions: people, animals, hybrid creatures and characters with such a fantastic air they are sometimes slightly reminiscent of Klee, other times they are grotesque, they rise composing joined by a certain surrealist touch in their titles, exquisite corpses or corpses of the exquisite? A bed of papers will be the origin of her drawings in which I see an air of Grosz, a certain consoling satirization. Eva chooses Beaudelaire’s route to confront her artistic creation which she shares with Klee: all from their fragility of daily routines, her creations become significant, through tendencies that bear a certain symbolism in their forms which thus renders them seemingly universal. And yet , it is quite clear that Eva Millares is an artist who can aspire to what is spiritual recalling human desires, like embers of our daily life.
“I don’t feel I’m an artist. I am only the go between my dreamt universes and the real world”, Eva tells me. And yet the Dictionary of Surrealism reminds us that dreams are the Will of Poetry18.
Alfonso de la Torre
Traducción al inglés: Sylvia Hottinger
- Ante un dibujo de Eva que le salió igual a J. R. en: MILLARES, Manolo. Memorias de una excavación urbana y otros escritos. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, Colección Letras de Arte, 1973, p. 58.
- In L’Anticoncept, (1952)
- In 1950 The Archers of Contemporary Art (1950-1952) – Los Arqueros del Arte Contemporraneo, LADAC – had their first exhibit in the Canary Islands Mueseum – El Museo Canario. They edited art magazine “Los Arqueros” and with Westerdahl’s support, and after their meeting with Santos Torroella, they became acquainted with the art world of Catalonia thanks to the catalán group LAIS. In 1951 they publish a phamplet entitled “LADAC”, which presents a definitive list of those who belong to the movement: Elvireta Escobio, Plácido Fleitas, Juan Ismael, José Julio, Alberto Manrique, Manolo Millares y Felo Monzón.
- Amongst other articles, the critic’s narration of those last days can be found in: MORENO GALVÁN, José María. Manolo Millares. Madrid-Barcelona: Revista “Triunfo”, nº 514, Año XXVII, 5/VIII/1972, p. 46. En la muerte de Manolo Millares. Revista “Triunfo”, nº 516, Año XXVII, 26/VIII/1972, pp. 52-53.
- The title of this piece is also,the name of a painting by Jacques Villeglé: La mémoire insoluble (1998-2008).
- MILLARES, Manolo – AZCOAGA, Enrique. El hombre de la pipa. Las Palmas: Planas de Poesía, nº XIII, 1951. The book is dedicated to: “a juan antonio gaya nuño, enrique azcoaga, ángel ferrant, rafael santos torroella, tomas seral casas, jorge campos, enrique planas durá, ángel marsá, santi surós, modesto cuixart, sebastián gasch, juan ramón masoliver y eduardo cirlot, friends with no faces, for the language of color and words” (sic.).
- These “lettrist remains” are in Eva Millares’ work.
- “Laceration is a No! (…) A No addressed to the subtle forms the powers – that – be weave in all discourse”. FRANCBLIN, Catherine (et al.). Jacques Villeglé. La Comédie Urbaine. Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2008.
- “From that (passion) closeness to landscape – with my eyes always on the ground – in search of some fossil, of some fragment of plain-surfaced Roman Hispanic pot, or one of those Roman coins with the effigy of Augustus like the one I had the good fortune to find, many years ago, in the surroundings of Segóbriga”. Eva Millares, 21/V/2016. Or, also: “Here, as always, with a automnal winter where temperaturas never go below 14º. The ground is covered with leaves and flowers… a very Australian chaos”.
- A magazine created by René Bèrtholo (Alhandra, 1935 - Cacela, 2005) and Lourdes Castro (Funchal, 1930). KWY had several formats and regular publication dates during its existence from 1958 till 1964.
- These words also come from the artist herself: “From the mummified bags of sugar, from the scent of yute, of old rope, from my father’s studio?”. Conversation with this author (21/VI/2016).
- TÀPIES, Antoni-VALENTE, José Angel. Comunicación sobre el muro. Barcelona: Ediciones de la Rosa Cúbica, 1998.
- Millares took part in the 1961 MoMA Exhibit The Art of Assemblage and later, in 1962, he would show it at The Dallas Musuem for Contemporary Arts and in the San Francisco Museum of Art.
- Manolo Millares writes, “Destrucción-construcción en mi pintura” for the magazine “Acento Cultural” (nºs 12-13, Madrid, 1961)
- According to the letter published by the Fundación Antonio Pérez, the correspondence begins the October 14, 1961. “Andarríos” was the eponym which Juan Marsé used to designate Pérez. Cuenca: “Cuadernos del Hocinoco”, nº 8, 2001. So stated in the archives of the Fundación Antonio Pérez. Conversation with Mónica Muñoz, IX/2016.
- JANOUCH, Gustav. Conversaciones con Kafka. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag GmbH, 1968. Spanish version: Ediciones Destino, Barcelona, 1997, p. 74
- “Secret and mysteriously,the stroller is followed by all sorts of beautiful and subtles thoughts arsing when walking, in such a manner that in the midst of its careful and attentive walk he has to stand still, stop and listen, to what is hurried and confusing by such strange impressions and bewitched by the force of the spirit and the sensation that he is soon to suddenly sink into the ground or that before his dazzled and confused eyes of a thinker and a poet he is looking into an abyss (…). Ground and skies flow and suddenly plunge into a wirlwind, shinny, crowded and imprecise mist; the chaos begins and the orders disappear”. WALSER, Robert. El paseo. Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, 1996
- BRETON, André – ÉLUARD, Paul. Dictionnaire Abregé du Surréalisme. Paris: Galerie des BeauxArts, 1938. Spanish version: Diccionario Abreviado del Surrealismo. Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, 2002, p. 95.