Text published in the catalog
ANTÓN LAMAZARES. CÁNTICO ESPIRITUAL.
Madrid-Caracas: Galería Odalys, 2022
ANTÓN LAMAZARES: TELL HIM
ALFONSO DE LA TORRE
(…) tell him that I am in pain, that I suffer, and I die
Saint John of the Cross. Spiritual Canticle
Where are you?
Gen. 3. 9
An enclosure. A narrow place from which creation emerges, that is Juan de Yepes , in a hollow.
Away from the world, inhabitant of that unknown abyss that will allow him to sing his spiritual song, is how Antón Lamazares (Maceira, 1954) paints. Emptiness and silence. Resounding Songs, Glosses, Sayings and Warnings. It is in the night, indeed dark.
In confinement. The “Spiritual Canticle” poems of Juan de Yepes, Saint John of the Cross, were born from this painful confrontation during a time of sorrow , the songs of the Discalced (Barefoot). The one from Fontiveros was inhabited by an initiatory silence arising from the severeness of the punishment and reclusion as evidence that would move him to loneliness, prostration, and emptiness. But with inner perfection them could appear. Emptiness and purification arrived at from muteness as an imperative element of mystical experience, perhaps thus revealing the strength of the Discalced possession of mysterious knowledge rooted in other knowledge (Bachelard reminds us that thought is a force, not a substance), that Hebraic consciousness of Kabbalah and Hermeticism experienced during his studies at the Heresiarch University of Salamanca . Oh, the joy of understanding. And from there, to achieve perfection extracted by the knowledge of the Tree of Life and to challenge its paths as authentic ways of communication with the spiritual experience. Emptying and dispossession of the self as a way to reach the knowledge symbolized in the ecstatic loving union, to reach those spiritual nuptials, as expressed in biblical texts. Loneliness, loneliness and loneliness: from that helplessness would grow the energy of the word, thus rose those “Songs between the Soul and the Husband”.
Did we say the helpless Discalced? A helplessness not far from the consubstantial of being an artist, the creators often situated between isolation and loneliness, abandonment if not repudiation: an outsider artist, in the words of Herbert Read . Like a wound, “singular and distinct to each of us, visible or hidden, which every man keeps within himself, which he preserves and in which he takes refuge when he wants to withdraw from the world to find a temporary but profound solitude” . “I am often in deep pain; I am afraid I am not human being,” John Cage will write to Merce Cunningham . And Henri Michaux: “I am beyond. I need to abandon myself, to abandon everything, to submerge myself in total discouragement, without resisting, without wanting to understand, like a man stunned by blows who aspires to be stunned even more” .
Not too far removed this helplessness from Lamazares’ confrontation with painting in his studio in that old-fashioned and almost vanished Madrid, the paintings-writings laid out in different rooms with an eventful touch in an emergency space, a bounded territory. It is there that the artistic action takes place: visiting his studio would seem to reveal the muteness of the day after a battlefield . Lamazares searches there for the inscription of words on the supports, seemingly bearers of a mysterious power escaped from that night where the moon travels in its changing gradients . Anton goes from country to country with his paintings, in the sacred night like Hölderlin , a space half-open in the dark as if that were truly the place of the secret combat, without mediation. Finding himself divided between gravity and exaltation, that indefinite splitting of the self between the day and the compassionate night, like a slide towards a naked violence that would then reveal the words it hears, from a strange illuminated will .
Could the night be a lie? In his paintings, Lamazares builds windows overlooking mysterious realms inhabited by nomadic images, spaces grown like someone waving a torch in the shadows , between the crackling of the punch against the cardboard and, as if removed from himself, he prints the dots or holes that constitute the signs of his “Dolphin Alphabet” (2013). The lacerated cardboard is challenged and surpassed, being left transformed, like that soul wounded by the arrow, verses and words cleft with the instruments in the pictorial plane giving back to the world new verbs, seemingly expressed as a revelation. Like what was consciously engraved, but also like that which could belong to the wall or even to the skin of the stone of an extinct culture, something anchored in the origin of the origin , the strange words of a civilization imprisoned from this earth or that which, existing, did not stayed within the scope of what is visible.
In the Hebrew language the word “dabar” means “verb”, but also “God”. Perhaps God is word, the incarnation of the voice, and the sign its symbol. In the beginning was the Word, after the all-silence came speech, the transcendent from the immanent, the first voice becoming an early sign (the absence that calls), from it everything else, for “life and death are part of the power of language” . After all, to raise a sign is to conceive the world. Emptying of the artist in front of the support while trying not to hinder the conscience, knowledge and wisdom . Abandonment and darkness, grief or resurrection, memory and meditation.
Where have you hidden, / My love, and left me groaning?, is the beginning of “Canticle”, which Lamazares will continue in his beautiful polyptych of fourteen works , a storm of reds and ochres assaulted by the gleam of open words on surfaces that sometimes appear to be liquid. Like John Cage throwing sounds into the silence , painted and pierced, Lamazares carves in these honeycomb cartons the dialogue between the present and the absent, the encounter of the infinite with the finite of the space where the pictorial event takes place . This tension between presence and absence will be one of the flows that drive the “Spiritual Canticle”, what is or what is aspiration, the world and its desires as an essay on what could be accessed. Tell him . His painting is the interregnum of what tempts to be reached: tell him that I am in pain, that I suffer. Painting as an expression of the place of loss.
On the cover of one of the early editions of the Spanish translation of the Bible, , there is an image of a bear searching through the trees for a honeycomb hidden among them, while bees are fluttering about. I thought of this when I saw Lamazares’ paintings on that cardboard , whose interior is structured by a paper fabric, in the form of beehive cells . The honeycomb, in the biblical reading of the “Song of Songs” , is related to the Hebrew term for “awakening”: access to revealed knowledge would come after accessing the orchard of paradise. Knowing the Hebrew legacy in the University of Salamanca, where Juan de Yepes studied, one would understand certain keys of occult knowledge that would later be associated to his writing, often caressing silences, as a way of conceiving the God loved by the kabbalists. Industrial cardboard, oil of industry on which the poetic voice will grow, others have explained the alchemist touch of Lamazares in that transubstantiation of modest supports in transfigured surfaces , the letter as if emerging from a mysterious liquid. Something that brings back the evocation of the representation of those landscapes on cardboards of dramatic fragility, eidos, often vitreous, specular, bearing an enameled vulnerability and which I once called interior landscapes and cloisonnés of representation .
From a perceptive faculty that opens the door for the superimposition of worlds, that hermeneutics of symbols encourages Lamazares’ attempt to reveal the mystery of depth and the occult, that numinous, true imagination, which is not so much abstract as it is capable of expanding the occult, mediating between thought and being. It was the silence prior to the verb, as we said. Like the pain of the beloved in the search for Her, substantial to the act of loving. In that mystical experience, from that quest, creation flows, praised be that new day, a dawn rising where the loved one may return. And this territory of questions activates creation, because the one who creates is installed in the emptiness, that fearful edge of silence.
Between the back and forth of that which is not there, absent the Beloved, the Discalced one sings in the fertilized nothingness, that intense night among nights, blackness in song, the calm one that attends the waiting for the rising of the dawn, but also the dark night that illuminates the night, like that dazzling one where the poems of “Adibal” (1995), written by Lamazares, grew.
Poetics of emptiness in St. John of the Cross, who became one of the first poets to embody the difficulty of speech to entice the world (this wasteland — right, Thomas?), the word expressed as a thirst that in the manner of Blanchot, would allow us to escape from this complexity. Word emerged from the deep knowledge of the Kabbalah, everything is dark (and clear) in the poetry of the Discalced, connoisseur of the Hebraic reading of the Bible, the word subjected to a sacred and energetic language, creative energy bearer of that weight and measure that could be deciphered, or rather revealed, through the study of the number, in the way of an access to mystical knowledge and experience, also allowing to reach the various dimensions that would correspond to knowledge. Let us remember: the words written in Hebrew are weighted and must be read from right to left: “it is an alphabet whose letters are weighted, they have a measure and a quality determined by the number of each graphic sign” . We express this observation about the weight, and different sense of reading, relate it to some of Lamazares’ paintings of his Dolphin Alphabet, whose reading has to be done from bottom to top. The peasant looks up , looks up to the sky, raises his eyes to the sky looking for the divinity or the promise (perhaps the threat) of the meteor. The plea or the conviction.
This reading alteration in some paintings seems to result in its closure if one does not have the mastery of the keys, the dictionary decipherer of the Alphabet, those words that only he hears, but also the precise knowledge and time in its interpretation, it happens in some of the exposed: “Why are you late?”; “Put them away / my love / for I’m flying!”; “I die / because / I / do not / die”; “Look inside you” or “Rise / on itself / do not settle / in anything / in nothing”. After all, Alphabet of a painter whose beginnings as an artist were traversed by the expression of the symbol , raising intermittent images that seem to be shaken by subterranean blows, making the expected image capsize as if an image were shifting on itself, like images placed in a permanent state of shock . Those paintings are bearers of a symbolic sacredness (crosses, litanies and biblical stories), symbols in large expanses of color as places of redemption and estrangement, enraged embers of vision, paintings of the first day of time.
As in that story by Blanchot, “Aquel que no me acompañaba” (1953), the painter writes the words of the one from Fontiveros but, in the solitude of the writer, he is ready to listen to the silence and immersed in such silence he discovers himself in front of it, listening. What seemed like nothing became a dialogue that night. Restless words inscribed in this Alphabet, but the texts do not exclude the immediate transfer to a mysterious zone, even though the artist often offers us the keys to its revelation, which, in turn, redirects us to another extraterrestrial zone: poetry and symbolism . They are auroral words, like a gift of which he was the only bearer, as the last witness of this secret and decipherable alphabet, a mirror of return with the winged and pictographic writing of the one who writes denying the known and traveled word. A negation that does not prevent him from enunciating and that such an affirmation becomes an exaltation of space, thought in pursuit of the incarnation of visible extension.
Thus, a written sentence can be converted into baroque marshy clay, as if it contradicted the exaltation of a torn reserve. An example is the painting: “Well, I am here, but the soul is far behind” or almost rising matter, once cleft, like an eruption: “Look inside you”. Or another of the paintings, entitled “Lo más alto ve”, as a battle the word. To fade away, the split signs buried by the pigment and, as soon as the word is present, it is transfigured, as in “Mira dentro de ti” (Look inside you). The support is wounded by the destruction of the hollows, as if wrathfully expressing the meaning by executing the necessity of the artistic action: “Let everything be moved”. The sign petrified or evaporated while, like a song to lightness and goodness that carries an elusive truth, the verses travel dancing on high up, like a duo of paintings entitled “Lo más alto ve”. This is what their painting will be able to say, once silent, peering over the edge of silence. Sometimes the verb flows, as if in a suspended space without direction that makes the poetized word intoxicating in its composition on the support, the signs like wandering traces left on the plane, a lyricist blues, a rêve de vol a la Bachelard. These are the words of Juan de Yepes, expressed by Lamazares in the cartoons, true poetry of the radiance of what was only in the world, like a word that, if spoken, would never be heard, a voice persevering on the threshold, always on the threshold of the world. At the threshold. Sometimes the pictorial space can be reduced to just a few words inscribed in its center, in such a way that they affirm their solitary containment.
The texts of the Dolphin Alphabet seem to belong to a liber that, recomposed from mystical embers, would be the essential liber that Anton has found at the end of a very long road. He inscribed very brief words as if nothing happened in the distance and everything was the silence of the world: “Only love is silent”; “Hope and silence”; “What are you looking for” or “What do you want”. Yes, here it cries out to a murmuring silence. Accompanied by certain paintings that seem reddish, darkness of a detailed discourse, as in “Llora/con/los/los/que/caen” (Cry/with/those/that/fall).Nothing is strange, this construction of the contemporary from the creation of a language that, being new, seems to refer to an unknown and past trace, as a continuity that does not cease and has been revealed by those who seem to know an expressible but extinct truth. The struggle with the sign and the word, even with its metaphors, is not strange either in an artist who has been a good reader and defender of poetry , lyricist, friend or homage payer to vates , and has published his verses. Ah, the word, the word of desire, the word to be asked, the violent word, the word that could have been silent, the yearning word. “Listen to me, listen to me,” he often repeats in conversation, this thirsty street poet fascinated by the word, and in whom I see an air of Villon, another creator of new languages , the poet in his nightly round: “Street of the first pains, I embrace you! .
Vertigo of the letter, après nous le letrisme, we know, the letter has traveled with the art of our time: Picabia or Picasso, the navigating lyricism in Kurt Schwitters’ papers or in Cy Twombly’s incendiary words, and so many others: Alexanco, Max Bill, Brossa, Dubuffet , Ariel Gangi, Grilo, Martin Gubbins, Hausmann, Isou , Jonic , Lebel, Nöel, Millares, Pomerand, Tripier, Wols or Zush, the epigonals of Art & Language, an endless list of which these names are examples. Words, words, words, words, we read the hyper-lyricist Henri Michaux, the imperious need for the word that has illuminated creation, the Dada and phonetic poetry, like disordered words happening with the surrealist verse. After all, the lyric: Dürer or Leonardo, Klee, I think now of Torner and his “Summary of saying” , the metagraphy and hyperexcitement of the word, has accompanied the history of art. The lyrics we know transformed in personal signs , like Artaud glosolalia dissolutoria of the linguistic sign and its system, the paroxysm of the lyrics, that beautiful thing in “The theater and its double”: breaking the language to touch life, a magical operation to liberate the signs. Evoking Dotremont’s logograms, the contemplator, by avoiding legibility, could be placed in a non-reading disposition that would allow him to read his writings, a subject moved by the fact that such graphics would belong not so much to the intellect as to an inner world. A sensual empire of signs, I remembered that book by Barthes, “L’empire des signes”, a new language occupying Lamazares’ cartons. Illusion of telling everything, telling oneself, which, evoking On Kawara, produces a strange narration from one end of time.
However, unlike the often abstract hypertextualization of some of these artists, Lamazares has created his own language of equivalences, a translatable alphabet, but sometimes subjected to the Shakespearean “you see, there is nothing there, but I see everything there is”, on other occasions the letter displaced to a certain decomposition, as if writing and ceasing, since certain of these graphic notations that Lamazares inscribes are breaking the support, as if he had split the awl too much, as if the words were burning in his hands. Petroglyph of the bee’s cardboard-nest, incinerated word, fire arrow that sometimes will make the created verb disappear, then the signs of his Dolphin Alphabet become almost illegible, the painting becoming the space of pictorial events. And some pierced words then converge in the realm of the hole, the hollow, that secular attempt to search for the lost dimension , the infinite holes of mystery referred to by Millares, the cleft of the razor or the holes of Fontana. Thus, Lamazares erects dispossession, not the uncertain fullness of the pictorial plane but, rather, the hole and the depth, the tearing of absence, as the space of a longing lost in its cardboard quicksilver. Hamlet and Gertrude’s questions mentioned above: “Do you see nothing there?”, and the latter’s answer: “Nothing at all, yet all that is I see”. In the end, the Dolphin Alphabet becomes writing to be deciphered, an apparatus of meaning, recalling now the birth and conclusion of the arts in what Octavio Paz called an invisible zone.
Writing through the Discalced, which Lamazares addresses, reminded me of John Cage’s “Writings through” , other words arranged in space composed through the revision and alteration of certain pre-existing texts, based on different self-imposed rules that would then disrupt those words of origin . Such a poetic translation, like a disorientation that promotes a memorable journey in delay, Lamazares calls the viewer to the recollection of a solitary encounter, hermeneutic that embarks towards another event that is the proposal of the subjectivity of perception, the world undone, the offering of an interiorized encounter with painting. Creation of a place where the elimination of obstacles between creator and contemplator is felt, since the contemplator would be displaced to another place, far from the subjective, like an emptying. Eliminating the obstacles between the two positions: the artistic object and those who witness it, I have remembered Rothko when he pointed out that, in this progress towards clarity, history, memory or geometry were obstacles . Even the look itself, often altered by the routine look, another difficulty.
Consciousness of language, the essence of what is human, but also of the most precious silence, an attempt to communicate that which is incommunicable, the glow of what was absent, the celebration of the unspeakable, Joyce and his “Finnegans Wake”. Also Maurice Blanchot’s commotion, always caressing the reviled word, it seems that in response to Adorno: I cannot silence what cannot be said, it seems essence of poetry. That quiet music that leads to wisdom, in the stillness and silence of the night that love vivifies, spiritual song, then it’s all. Will painting be able to extend its kingdom?
I wrote “Blanchot”, knowing to what extent the word has marked the disorder of the last days of some poets, Hölderlin and Celan, came to the hands (my eyes, it is understood) this time. Linked the question about the word, hence the quote, to “The Writing of Disaster” . Question, question and question about the word and its possibility, what remains to be said when everything has already been said. Paul Celan’s wandering meets St. John of the Cross, poetics of emptiness, verses distilled from the herald of pain: “the lamps of fear are clear, Celan will say, even in the storm” . An internal voyage, in the night. And the word? The word in the silence where God has exiled himself . Have you ever seen a word live?
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE TEXT
For the interpretation of Lamazares’ paintings, and their correlation with the work of Saint John of the Cross, we have used two editions as the main sources of the Discalced:
– SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS. Cántico espiritual. Barcelona: Lumen, 2021 Introductory text and commentary: JOSA, Lola. Estudio al Cántico espiritual.
-RUANO, Licinio et. al. Life and works of St. John of the Cross. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1978.
Antón Lamazares uses for his paintings:
-SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS. Spiritual Canticle and Poems. Madrid-Seville: Ediciones Turner y Juan de Andalucía, 1991.
ALEXANCO, José Luis. Alexanco: ‘Alfabeto para una Constitución’. Madrid: Diario 16, January 3, 1979.
BARTHES, Roland. L’empire des signes. Geneva: Albert Skira, 1970.
BENJAMIN, Walter. On some of the themes in Baudelaire. In “Iluminaciones”. Barcelona: Penguin Random House, 2018.
BLANCHOT, Maurice. La escritura del desastre (1980). Madrid: Editorial Trotta, 2019.
CAGE, John. Escribir en el agua. Letters (1930-1992). Buenos Aires: Black Box, 2021.
CELAN, Paul. La única luz, in “Amapola y Memoria”, “Poesías completas”. Madrid: Trotta, 1999.
DUBUFFET, Jean. Ler dla canpane, par Dubufe J. París: L’Art Brut, 1948 and: L’Hourlope. Paris: Le Petit Jésus, No. 10, 1963.
GENET, Jean. L’atelier d’Alberto Giacometti. Décines-Isère: L’Arbalète, 1958. Reissued by: Paris: Gallimard, 1967 and 1977. Spanish edition: GENET, Jean. The Invisible Object. Writings on Art, Literature and Theater. The Tightrope Walker. Barcelona: Thassalia, 1997
HÖLDERLIN, Friedrich. Pan y vino. A Heinze. In SAFRANSKI, Rüdiger. Hölderlin. Barcelona: Tusquets Editores, 2021.
JABÈS, Edmond. El libro de las preguntas (1963-1973). Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, 2006.
MICHAUX, Henri. Emergencies-Resurgences (1972). In “Escritos sobre pintura”. Murcia: Official Association of Quantity Surveyors and Architects of the Region of Murcia, 2007.
MILLER, Henry. Primavera negra (1936). Barcelona: Bruguera, 1979.
READ, Herbert. To Hell with Culture (1941). Valencia: Editorial Ahimsa, 2000.
ROTHKO, Mark. Writings on Art. New Haven-London: Yale University Press, 2006.
DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Milos Jonic-Un pintor entre Europa y América. Text for the exhibition “Milos Jonic. The pendulum of life”. Madrid-Caracas: Galería Odalys, 2016.
DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Pablo Palazuelo, el sediento [thoughts on the mysticism and creation in the work of Pablo Palazuelo]. San Sebastian: Ateneo Guipuzkoano-Revista Trépanos, 2022.
DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Pablo Palazuelo in his night round [Around an illustrated notebook based on the poetry of François Villon, with photographs by Jean-Jacques Moreau]. Madrid: Fundación Pablo Palazuelo, 2020.
DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Manolo Millares. La atracción del horror. Cuenca: Genueve Ediciones, 2016.
In addition, the author has collated the existing bibliography on Lamazares, both books and press articles have been mentioned here:
AMÓN, Santiago. Fervores, temores y primores de Antón Lamazares. In “Antón Lamazares”. Madrid: Juana Mordó and Elisabeth Franck Galleries, 1984.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. Directo al corazón. In “Lamazares. Dolphin Alphabet”. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2016, p. 23.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. La musa en cueros. In “Antón Lamazares”. Madrid: Montenegro Gallery, 1987.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. Los hijos del limo Antón Lamazares / Francisco Leiro. Sculpture. Madrid: “El País”, November 13, 2020.
GABILONDO, Ángel. A conversation with Antón Lamazares. Madrid: Seacex, 2005.
LAMAZARES, Antón. 46 pepitas. In “Antón Lamazares”. Madrid: Montenegro Gallery, 1987.
LAMAZARES, Antón. Adibal. Poems in six rounds. Madrid: “El Europeo”, nº 51, II-III/1995, pp. 98-103.
LAMAZARES, Antón. Noche habitada. In “Alfonso Fraile. Works 1960-1987”. Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 1999.
LAMAZARES, Antón. Viernes de Dolores 2017. By Juan Carlos Mestre. In “Lamazares. Flor Novoneyra”. Santiago de Compostela-Lugo: Gaiás Center Museum and Museum of Lugo, 2017-2018.
MARTÍN GARZO, Gustavo. Las palabras del corazón. In “Lamazares. Dolphin Alphabet”. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2016.
MUÑIZ MENÉNDEZ, Manuel. Antón Lamazares: “My blood is from the village and I pay homage to the poet of the village”. Madrid: ABC Cultural – May 8, 2019.
RUBIALES FUENTES, Pilar, “Quiero pintar la tierra llorando”. The pictorial technique in the work of Antón Lamazares. In “A la tarde te examinarán en el amor…Antón Lamazares. En la estela del Greco…”. Toledo: El Greco Museum, 2018.
SPIEGEL, Olga. Antón Lamazares: “When I paint I try to express myself with minimal things and touch the soul”. Barcelona: “La Vanguardia”, January 22, 1987.
DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Paper languages. Collection Circa XX. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2008
SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS. Cántico espiritual. Barcelona: Lumen, 2021. Song 12, p. 43.
“In a hollow six feet wide and about ten feet long, with a three-opening vent, the Spiritual Canticle was conceived. There Friar Juan remained imprisoned for almost nine months, in an unhealthy space where one of the many acts of cruelty human beings have committed under the impunity of power, a hole in the wall arranged as a latrine adjacent to the room where the prelates stayed when they were passing through the convent of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, in the eastern end of Toledo”. JOSA, Lola. Estudio al Cántico espiritual. Barcelona: Lumen, 2021, p. 53. After this punishment, he would receive another crude punishment, the reclusion of his work in the merely religious and devotional realm. I have been able to traverse the forest of the word of Juan de Yepes with the immense power of evocation of the analysis of Lola Josa. I must confess, some of the clues this revealed led me to a mysterious tremor. My thanks from here.
The collection of poems of St. John of the Cross was carried with him when he escaped in August 1578. Contemporary interpretations of St. John of the Cross insist on linking him to the heterodox currents of the Hebrew bible, much persecuted during the thirteenth century and then c. XVI at the University of Salamanca, where St. John of the Cross studied. The extraordinary relationship between his “Spiritual Canticle” and the biblical “Song of Songs” should also be emphasized. The latter is understood as “a gateway to mystical experience and the conscious life of the soul”. Ibid., p. 64.
We refer to his theological studies in Salamanca, where it seems likely that he was in contact with the Hebraic biblical explanation, rather than with the Latin Vulgate. Vid. Ibid., pp. 62-63.
READ, Herbert. To Hell with Culture (1941). Valencia: Editorial Ahimsa, 2000. The edition consulted.
GENET, Jean. L’atelier d’Alberto Giacometti. Décines-Isère: L’Arbalète, 1958. Reissued by: Paris: Gallimard, 1967 and 1977. Spanish edition: GENET, Jean. The Invisible Object. Writings on Art, Literature and Theater. The Tightrope Walker. Barcelona: Thassalia, 1997, p. 34.
Letter of 1944. Vid: CAGE, John. Escribir en el agua. Letters (1930-1992). Buenos Aires: Caja Negra, 2021, p. 78.
MICHAUX, Henri. Emergencies-Resurgences (1972). In “Escritos sobre pintura”. Murcia: Official Association of Quantity Surveyors and Architects of the Region of Murcia, 2007, p. 151.
About his painting and the helplessness, the dream of creating, I read Antón Lamazares: “I could say that ‘my painting represents childhood as a crescent moon that beautifully embraces the silence that surrounds things’, that is, the anxieties of men and their helplessness. Painting has always been a recreational necessity for our souls, a precious scenery, a stage for the dreams of our blood and of our hearts. What a painter has to do is paint: paint the paint. When the painter is focused and concentrated I believe that the painting uses the painter (in the best sense of the word). For me that is the essence of painting, that is, the paint possesses the paintwork and, therefore, the painting possesses the painter. When I began to paint it was said that ‘art is an expression’, and I said, playing with the words, ‘no, the painter is a pray of the feelings he paints’. I paint because my hands need to dream and dance those dreams. I paint because I want the dream to take me by the hand. I sincerely believe that there are many of us who need dreams. I paint for them and I paint for me. And the dream, if someone were to ask me what I mean by that word, I would say that it is what happens when one is at the highest level of demand”. GABILONDO, Ángel. A conversation with Antón Lamazares. Madrid: Seacex, 2005. Under the letter “E” of the table of equivalences and meanings of his Dolphin Alphabet, Lamazares notes: “The wonder. The spaces of dreams”.
I am mentioning José Guerrero’s assertion that his studio is a battlefield. This is how Calvo Serraller also saw it with Lamazares: “The struggle between life and art (…) it is a struggle between living and painting. An unbalanced, never-ending combat that leaves deep tracks, imprinted traces, indelible marks”. CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. La musa en cueros. In “Antón Lamazares”. Madrid: Montenegro Gallery, 1987.
Verse of a poem. LAMAZARES, Antón. Noche habitada. In “Alfonso Fraile. Works 1960-1987”. Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 1999, p. 71.
“(…) they went from country to country in the holy night”. In: HÖLDERLIN, Friedrich. Pan y vino. A Heinze. In SAFRANSKI, Rüdiger. Hölderlin. Barcelona: Tusquets Editores, 2021, p. 218.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. La musa en cueros. Op. cit.
Inspired by Lamazares’ annotation in the table of equivalences and meanings under the letter “Q” of his Dolphin Alphabet.
HÖLDERLIN, Friedrich. Pan y vino. A Heinze. Op. cit. pp. 212 y 219.
Dedicated to his father, Delfín Lamazares Costa. Logically, it also carries a different meaning, that of the razed word, and teases with the possibility of a Blanchotian vocabulary “Del fin” (translator’s note: “Del fin” (of the end) is a play of words with the Spanish word for Dolphin, “Delfín”). Frequented by Blanchot in his words, especially in his mythical “The Writing of the Disaster” (1980), which we quote at length below.
“I conceive the support as a wall,” he said in 1987, discarding the canvas because “life is like a wall where to bang your head and break your head. The canvas reminds me of the feeling of a soft mattress”. SPIEGEL, Olga. Antón Lamazares: “When I paint I try to express myself with minimal things and touch the soul”. Barcelona: “La Vanguardia”, 22/I/1987, p. 37.
“(…) in the front, an adventure that walks backwards, towards the genuine origin of the origin”. AMÓN, Santiago. Fervores, temores y primores de Antón Lamazares. In “Antón Lamazares”. Madrid: Juana Mordó and Elisabeth Franck Galleries, 1984.
The quote is almost verbatim, from: JOSA, Lola. Estudio al Cántico espiritual. Op. cit. p. 93.
The exhibition shows several paintings related to poetic cycles of the Discalced, in addition to the aforementioned “Spiritual Canticle”, among others: “Dichos de luz y amor” (1578-1580), “Llama de amor viva” (1584-1585) or “Glosa a lo divino”.
CAGE, John. Escribir en el agua. Letters (1930-1992). Op. cit. p. 146. Letter to Pierre Boulez, December 18, 1950.
They are panels or sheets of honeycomb cardboard made with cellulose and special paper, with a hexagonal cellular structure on the inside, similar to the structure of honeycombs.
“if perchance you pour / the one I love most, / tell them that I am in pain, that I suffer and I die”. SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS. Cántico espiritual. Op. cit. Song 12, p. 43.
Casiodoro de la Reina made the complete Spanish translation of the Bible (Talleres del impresor Thomas Guarin. Basel, 1569) from the original texts, from a Christian spirit linked to the Reformation, trying to follow the textual sources and, therefore, opposing the inquisitorial orthodoxy.
“I have always worked with cardboard. I am 65 years old and have used cardboard for 90 percent of my work from the very beginning. It reminds me of the earth. Being a son of farmers, I know what it means to take a team of cows and a Roman plow and plow the land. It is a material that allows me to be inside my land, inside my memory, inside the important things I want to tell”. MUÑIZ MENÉNDEZ, Manuel. Antón Lamazares: “My blood is from the village and I pay homage to the poet of the village”. Madrid: ABC Cultural – May 8, 2019.
In this regard vid: RUBIALES FUENTES, Pilar, “Quiero pintar la tierra llorando”. The pictorial technique in the work of Antón Lamazares. In “A la tarde te examinarán en el amor…Antón Lamazares. En la estela del Greco…”. Toledo: El Greco Museum, 2018, pp. 15-17.
“Cantar de los cantares” (5: 1).
MARTÍN GARZO, Gustavo. Las palabras del corazón. In “Lamazares. Dolphin Alphabet”. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2016, p. 19: “His art refers to the old alchemists and implies the expectation of a transfiguration (…)”.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. Los hijos del limo Antón Lamazares / Francisco Leiro. Sculpture. Madrid: “El País”, November 13, 2020: “He uses cardboard as a support, but not without having found —on this occasion— one of thick and spongy body, which allows him to trace sharp lines in the drawing, not without dramatic fragility, which he accentuates by piercing it with a fine punch. On the other hand, he pigments it with a thin layer of oil, which he then varnishes, thus achieving a brilliant transparency of color, a paradoxical effect of enameled vulnerability, where that which is organic and that which is crystalline, materially and symbolically opposed, are reconciled”.
DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Paper languages. Collection Circa XX. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2008, p. 402. I commented on “Bés de Santa Baia” (1997), by Lamazares.
LAMAZARES, Antón. Adibal. Poems in six rounds. Madrid: “El Europeo”, nº 51, II-III/1995, pp. 98-103.
JOSA, Lola. Estudio al Cántico espiritual. Op. cit. p. 26.
This explains the artist’s statement: “I wanted a Christian alphabet and a Labrador”. LAMAZARES, Antón. Viernes de Dolores 2017. By Juan Carlos Mestre. In “Lamazares. Flor Novoneyra”. Santiago de Compostela-Lugo: Museo Centro Gaiás and Museo de Lugo, 2017-2018, pp. 44-45. In the same vein, below, it will be explained to: MUÑIZ MENÉNDEZ, Manuel. Antón Lamazares: “My blood is from the village and I pay homage to the poet of the village”.
“El Paraíso” (1984) was one of those early works populated by the symbolic.
This matter of the “shock” and the mention of the paragraph is indebted to BENJAMIN, Walter. On some of the themes in Baudelaire. In “Iluminaciones”. Barcelona: Penguin Random House, 2018, p. 278.
I am referring, of course, to what the artist calls “Dolphin Alphabet. Equivalence. Significance”. Let’s take a couple of examples, the “Q” sign: “The night. The lie”. Or, in the case of “R”: “Large home. Corral of the house. The homeland”. The Alphabet has been frequently reproduced and revealed in his publications.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. Directo al corazón. In “Lamazares. Dolphin Alphabet”. Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2016, p. 23.
“Great poetry, that’s where my business is,” he said in 1987. SPIEGEL, Olga. Antón Lamazares: “When I paint I try to express myself with minimal things and touch the soul”. Op. cit. On the same subject, more recently: “I have always written poetry, I have always wanted to make poetry with painting, which is not something new, Miró or Paul Klee already did it and my imaginary starts from there. Six or seven years ago I built my “Dolphin Alphabet” so that I could give mystery to the word and work with it. Because, if I worked it out in a Latin alphabet, it would be less mysterious to myself. So I build this alphabet, which is Christian and Farmer. For me it is very important that it is Christian, because I am Christian, and all the issues that interest me I want to pass through that crucible. And farmer, because I am of farmer origin; although I have not lived much in my village, my blood is from the village”. MUÑIZ MENÉNDEZ, Manuel. Antón Lamazares: “My blood is from the village and I pay homage to the poet of the village”. Op. cit.
I am thinking of his landscapes of Rosalía de Castro, “Eidos de Rosalía (1996), or “Flor Novoneyra”, his painted tributes to Uxio Novoneyra (Eugenio Novo Neira (1930-1999)), between 2015 and 2017, and the homonymous exhibitions (2017-2019).
I have referred to that term, “thirst”, by reviewing the mysticism of Pablo Palazuelo’s work and words. Vid. DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Pablo Palazuelo, el sediento [thoughts on the mysticism and creation in the work of Pablo Palazuelo]. San Sebastián: Ateneo Guipuzkoano-Revista Trépanos, 2022. “Possibility of the possession of a secret, the place of estrangement, the fading into invisibility, it was as if Palazuelo had been marked by the stigma of wandering as if he were descending into a murmuring silence. A tense silence, a guarded muteness in the encounter with the secret as a territory on the borderline between the unnamable and the realm of the existent”. I have also found the term “thirsty” in a writing by Lamazares: “Thirst: kill me! LAMAZARES, Antón. 46 pepitas. In “Antón Lamazares”. Madrid: Montenegro Gallery, 1987.
CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco. La musa en cueros. Op. cit.
Now we know that François Villon was Coquillard, therefore capable of speaking a jargon of his own, the jargon, language deconstructed and recomposed again, turned into art in our time by Jean Dubuffet, whom we mention below, it was also Villon’s desire to find a jargon of his own which, all differences considered, recently made me think of the walks of Dedalus and Bloom in that other jargon-writing, that of Joyce, a journey through the city traveled in that ineffable day by the characters, not dodging the story, lucid and acrid, the meticulous description, the confluent times. We have discussed it in: DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Pablo Palazuelo in his night round [Around an illustrated notebook based on the poetry of François Villon, with photographs by Jean-Jacques Moreau]. Madrid: Fundación Pablo Palazuelo, 2020.
MILLER, Henry. Primavera negra (1936). Barcelona: Bruguera, 1979, p. 181.
On June 20, 1947, at the conference organized by the Dadaists, Après nous le lettrisme, Iliazd, Ilia Mikhailovich Zdanevich, claimed the paternity of Lettrism.
Thinking of what Dubuffet called “relative jargon”, which brings us back to Villon: DUBUFFET, Jean. Ler dla canpane, par Dubufe J. París: L’Art Brut, 1948, also in: L’Hourlope. Paris: Le Petit Jésus, No. 10, 1963.
At this point, the Dolphin Alphabet brought me back to Gabriel Pomerand’s Hebraic ideograms, owed to the metagraphy expressed by Isidore Isou in, for example, “Amos ou Introduction à la métagraphologie” (1952). At this point, reference should also be made to Isou’s book “Les champs de force de la peinture lettriste” (1964).
At this point, let us quote the text for the publication of this gallery. DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Milos Jonic-Un pintor entre Europa y América. Text for the exhibition “Milos Jonic. The pendulum of life”. Madrid-Caracas: Galería Odalys, 2016.
Gustavo Torner, “Resumen del decir-Laberinto-Pauta para un abecedario (Homenaje a Jorge Luis Borges)”, 1970. Set of silkscreen prints by Ricard Giralt-Miracle, lyricist.
“(…) let’s say that, instead of working with curves, or with angles, I work with letters. It ends being the same thing. For me, letters are signs. The only logical requirement is that these signs must articulate words with a reading level according to the usual code of communication. For the rest, they remain modules, elements that can be combined in different ways, once these fair limits have been respected”. ALEXANCO, José Luis. Alexanco: ‘Alfabeto para una Constitución’. Madrid: Diario 16, January 3, 1979, with the subtitle: “Calligraphy and pictorial signs”.
BARTHES, Roland. L’empire des signes. Geneva: Albert Skira, 1970.
The term is from Manolo Millares in 1956: “The unusual that awaits me in the lost dimension of a coarse sackcloth finds its only parallel in the dark and unattractable of the unknown”. The artist also wrote about the term “lost dimension”: “I do not admit the fictitious, optical third dimension, but I do admit an authentic, material dimension. It is what I call ‘lost dimension’, because its background is real and, consequently, it does not break the mural frontality”. Vid. DE LA TORRE, Alfonso. Manolo Millares. La atracción del horror. Cuenca: Genueve Ediciones, 2016.
Cage composed his “Writing Through the Cantos” (1983), from the well-known book of the same name, Ezra Pound’s “Cantos”. This writing-through would be frequented by Cage, for example with Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”.
About Cage’s mesostics vid..: CAGE, John. Escribir en el agua. Letters (1930-1992). Op. cit., p. 323.
ROTHKO, Mark. Writings on Art. New Haven-London: Yale University Press, 2006, p. 125.
SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS. Spiritual canticle. Op. cit. Song 14, p. 183.
BLANCHOT, Maurice. La escritura del desastre (1980). Madrid: Editorial Trotta, 2019. The edition consulted.
CELAN, Paul. La única luz, in “Amapola y Memoria”, “Poesías completas”. Madrid: Trotta, 1999, p. 411. I realized that Celan had devoured Gershom Scholem’s book, “Von der mystischen Gestalt der Gottheit (On the mystical shape of the godhead)” by Suhrkamp, on Kabbalistic and Jewish mysticism linked to the names of God.
JABÈS, Edmond. El libro de las preguntas (1963-1973). Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, 2006, p. 318.