IMAGE to view works from exhibition.
the Golden Age and the Apocalypse
The "Cupí degli Uccelli" at this Venice Biennale
follows a long series of installations by Cardillo that put forth
matters ranging from an aesthetic dimension to a concern with ethics
and survival. Thus, he re-creates the circumstances, sites and places
of indigenous matrix cultures whose lives, in symbiosis with their
natural environment, are confronted with the contemporary world.
Cupí is the Guaraní name for the mounds created by a certain
type of ants in our countryside. Through it, Cardillo alludes metaphorically
to the mounds or "cerritos", elevations of earth that
can be found from the south-eastern United States to the north-eastern
regions of Uruguay. These are a paleo-historical compound of the
cultures that settled in those territories. Like the Cupí,
the "cerrito" is a formation created patiently and collectively
through the addition of co-ordinated efforts.
The intention of the artist is at all times all-embracing and syncretic.
The ceramics in the Cupí, for example, represent animals
whose habitat primarily corresponds to places where the artist has
lived. The armadillo, turtles, alligators, raccoons, fish, birds,
as well as the mounds are signs from the North and South of our
Americas: from the marshland of Rocha (Uruguay) to the Hudson River
Valley. They refer to fossils, to dead animals whose bodies were
the casts for these sculptures.
It is also syncretic to include the silkscreened image of Tlazolteotl
in a big mirror, this mother goddess of the Nahua pantheon in Mexico,
identified with fertility, creation, giving birth. With her, the
space of the installation becomes sacralized and evokes a place
where heaven copulates with the earth. But the audience, instead
of witnessing births, perceives fossils, dead animals, whether it
be in the ceramics or the xilographed canvases or in the mirrors
silkscreened with brief sketches and texts by the artist. The goddess
in a mirror, a truly luminous theophany, gives back the reflection
of the installation superimposed on her image, as well as that of
those who are touring the labyrinth of facing mirrors. Thus, each
one experiences the vision of his amazed image, prying into the
meaning of life, in the multiplying echoes that watch, provoke,
interrogate, demanding us to take on a chief role.
Our changing reflections, in rhythm with assorted points of view,
are those that place time in the immobility of the myth.
Arcadian circularity was violated long ago. Time as the moving image
of eternal immobility, as St. Augustine said, looks for a way out
of its cycles. The sacred space evokes it, remembers it. Longs for
it? The steps and the voices crack it and contaminate it.
Every element, every part, every object in this installation, acquires
meaning through its interaction with each other. They were already
talking to each other, in whispers, when they were alone. Our intrusion
has forever unsettled their reciprocal understanding.