Jorge Peris – Los Pies de Judas




Pinksummer: Why does you take always at least three days/one week to answer emails?
1) You do check mail continuously but:
a) you immediately answer only email that are really interesting to you, in which case messages from pinksummer have a very low priority.
b) You answer a little less interesting emails in three days/a week, in which case pinksummer would not really be a priority.
c) You answer all emails in three days one week, in which case pinksummer could be at least one of your priorities.
2) You do not check email for three days/one week. It is an evidence of a) control, b) resistance, c) snobbery.

Jorge Peris: What is the right time to answer emails? I do check email every two days, during some periods even every day, then every three. I think, while wandering across the rice fields with Ethra, my dog, now paddies are dry, it seems like Africa, it will remain like this for a short time. The landscape changes continuously here. I think at the emails, I observe the tree that lives on my balcony, it starts to put up flowers, some years ago together with Carlos we made some grafts: tangerines, oranges, lemons, now there are three different flowers in a single tree, later on I answer emails, are three days gone? pinksummer… you know well that now it is my priority.

P: We have seen a precious sculpture of yours, a magic wand, at your solo show titled “Tamaris” curated by Aurélie Voltz, in a fairy-like castle in France.
Can magic wands change the world as a revolution can do or they tend to narcotize it like Twilight does? What is magic? What is it for?

J.P: Magic wands remind that unfortunately there is a world that needs to be changed for all the suffering that it contains and supports. Sometimes I think that only with another revolution, again, another time with a revolution, it would be possible to change the direction taken by the world. Magic is daydreaming, it is the ability to imagine, it seems easy to imagine, but it it is not at all. Sure, magic sometimes can help to stand up.

P: Tell us about the title Tamaris, what does it symbolize?

JP: Tamarisk is a Mediterranean tree which roots are able to penetrate very salty soil. I saw it growing on a shore, one meter from the sea. Tamaris is the title of my last project that I have presented in a very mysterious castle in France. There was a large installation, some objects, thirteen collage works. It was like transporting my studio in that venue to display for the first time in a museum some tests accomplished after years of working. I picture the studio as some sort of space shuttle that eventually landed in an isolate and productive spot, where you can hear the sound of the distant sea at night but just when the sea is fucking angry.

P: To our chemistry, salt means sodium chloride; according to alchemy, the chemistry of Al, the divine chemistry, ars regia, salt is the third original principle together with sulphur, the fire, and mercurius, the spirit. Paracelsus defined salt as the quality or root of material being. The symbol of salt in that ancient chemistry is a circle that refers to eternity, because it have no start nor end; that circle has a horizontal bar crossing its center to symbolize what orders and stabilizes creation, both micro and macrocosmos.
To active imagination of the alchemists, salt, lapis, is Christ, also known as the one who determines the harmonic combination.
Being incorruptible, salt can preserve organisms and food from decay, perhaps the soul too, if you considers Lot’s wife, turned into a salt statue, as soon as she looked back at the burning Sodom and Gomorrah. Somehow salt freezes the flux of becoming, the progress, but preserves things from corruption.
Salt has a purifying power. Keeping on referencing to the sacred and the Old Testament, Eliseus purify Jericho’s spring with salt to let it stop causing death and sterility.
Salt has a power of destruction and Abimelech, again according to the Bible, after destroying the city of Sichem, spread salts over the land to make it forever sterile.
In your work, salt has the same ambivalence, which cannot be simply referred to sodium chloride. Can you tell us about salt?

J.P: Yes, salt is like an endless labyrinth to me. I have always been obsessed by this kind of things, as if they were able to explain something else: Ulysses sowed on salt pits before leaving for his great journey, Simondon assimilated the brain to the cosmos by passing through salt crystallization process. My experience with salt started with the necessity to purify, or better to disinfect, my studio in Madrid, that I had filled up with dead animals, stuffed animals, mummies. I covered everything with salt. Salt on the ground, salt all over the studio. I have learned to observe how it grows, the osmosis, the stalactites bent as evidence of the movement our planet, the crystals that changed proportion by always maintaining their form of imperfect cube. How salt moves according the changing humidity of the room in order to achieve unity, a single corpse made from many cubes. Little by little, me too I have been covered with salt. And all this, suddenly, took me back to a memory from my childhood. I used to walk on the beach for hours, days, covered with salt, in the afternoon light, after long fighting the waves. That was one of the most free and wishful moment of my life, I was a real pirate, always on my own, shipwrecked, without the necessity to tell anybody about my experience, completely lost in an hallucinated, cosmic landscape without limits.

P: Your work recalls animism, hylomorphism, atomism of some Pre-Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic doctrines, in which life and death are complementary forces engendering the Becoming and in that sense they can be considered as a single force. Absolutely nothing dies in that world apart from what is not able to transform itself, the ego, the individual. Your work moves between the polarity of solve et coagula, hence the concept of matter can be defined as a possibility. In your works the possibility is also risk. The process is never completely under control, matter always maintains its autonomy, constructive and destructive at the same time. The idea is more stable instead, it defines, it controls.
After the alchemical formula par excellence, that of dissolution and coagulation, your work subsumes destructive violence sometimes, other times the composing harmony, the mathematical rhythm of nature, the symbolic golden mean of some primal architectural structures… The solve tends to eliminate the negativity of matter, any stretching and forced pattern, in order to let it find a brave new synthesis in the coagula. Which means that we must dare to cross the darkness, the night, to see the the dawn. I have always thought that your work is deeply political. On a societal level, do you think that the revolution is necessary to get rid of the leaden vices and to find again the golden virtue of democracy?

J.P: Democracy has been a beautiful dream, it nearly seemed real. Half century makes, after the Second World war, has signed for the human rights, all forgetting. Nowadays fascism spread like mushrooms, hallucinogen ones though! I have been to China a few years ago, there fascism is called neoliberalism. Scary! They all must eat and they are so many. We are all predestined, us too, to adore a devil-god, a king made from paper and coins, invisible, as frustrating as all the kings, all the gods, all the devils and whatever we are facing, the earth, the sea, a brother. We cannot see it any more because we are hidden by mobile phone, it is funny, but mostly sad. Thousand suicides in Athens but even in Spain. Greece has been the epicenter of our civilization. Angela Merkel will go to hell for the eternity: she will have to mount and take apart Audi cars without stopping, sitting with dirty hands on an enormous incandescent grill. Although she knows that hell does not exist, the universe is not predetermined, it is made of surprises, but maybe there is someone who knows more than Angela… What I am saying is so obvious that might sound like banal. I look forward an immediate reaction, full of hope, that will be in a while. We become slaves when we are afraid of losing what we own. We do not need anything in this world more than eating and our freedom. Think at the real slaves, without alternative, at those whom starve, they are children! They are millions and they are beside us. That is enough, we must dare to cross the darkness.

P: Los pies de Judas, the title of your solo show at pinksummer. Let’s brainstorm. Judas in Hebrew means the favourite, the most precious. During the last supper Jesus stood up from the table, put an apron on and began the ritual washing of apostles’ feet. Christ bent down to wash twelfth apostle feet too, Judas the traitor, the one who has eaten His bread and has raised the heel against Him. A gesture to remind how important is democracy during revolutions: ” There is no greater servant than the master, neither greater apostle than he who it has sent him. Happy those who can understand this and put it into action.” Jesus, basically, did what he can to get rid of the religious and political tradition of classic Judaism. Jesus’ death was soteriologically predicted as it was necessary to the success of the revolution (salvation?) and therefore Judas action was providential for sake of the salvation. Being the favourite, Judas has been chosen by Jesus to betray, to accomplish the sacrifice. In ancient tarot cards, the Hanged Man was called the card of the traitor or even the card of Judas. The mysterious card number XII of Major Arcana refers to the twelfth apostle. The face of the traitor on the card does not show pain but beatitude, almost ecstasy, he is outlined by the halo too but has the price of its betrayal, the coins. The card indicates acceptance and inner harmony, ability to go beyond the conventional wisdom and look at the world from a more spiritual point of view. The Hanged Man shows that a totally renewed can emerge through the self sacrifice. Feet are balanced, they tell where and towards whom are we going to. Feet of Judas can be pictured at our eyes height, at the height of our heads. Can you tell us about what are you going to present at pinksummer and about the teaching of “Meister Zorio”, although we are in Italy, we do not ask you anything more.

J.P: Yes, the guardian of lost causes with suspended feet.
Everything is a passage, everything changes, everything transforms. The same thing can happen at the same time in many different places. We are now in a moment of transition, a full stop, that let people have a glimpse into a macrocosmos, that expands toward the microcosmos, down into the inside of the inside. It is an observatory, a moment of isolation, of great introspection. At pinksummer there will be a central element hosting a warm burning core in order to let the whole material crystallize from within up to its surface. I cannot say more than this, I never know where such works end up. I abandon them on their own at a certain point, they keep on building up and transforming by themselves. They are living achievements generated by an action, by a construction process that follows the law of nature, an everliving crystal, perhaps.
Gilberto, you said it, he has been a real teacher, even if he does not like this word. In my life I have been walking beside him for a while, those times were gold.