"Collected letters 1993/1994"

Carme Ortíz. 1994

The following text consists of fragments from letters exchanged between Carme Ortiz and Alex Nogué during the winter 1993-94, the period when, in the artist's workshop, a great part of the works constituting the exhibition "Messages after the signal" were taking their form.
By means of this text, we are continuing the trial started in winter 1992-93 (Papers d'Art, March 1993, No 52, pages 8-12), by working together on as to search for another link between written and objectual speculations, between the world of words and that of forms, through constantly sharing ideas, thoughts, feelings... during a creating process, the objective being a natural and simple approach even though we are aware of the complexity that may imply. Just as the reader will realise, we wanted to keep the everyday tune often adopted in language, in order to spoil the process in the least possible way; on the other hand, we are conscious, and that is why we emphasize the empty space in tempo, style and in terms of the contents collected among the different selected fragments.
«In this exchange of letters we have started there lies, I believe the implicit opportunity of reaching the essence of things; in this particular case the fact of stopping to think, not under somebody's order but a contact translated into a dialogue, a fluency of ideas and an exchange of feelings, experiences... a process of approaching and knowing, shared through a means: the letter, which still keeps values that arrange and leave a gap in the space-time of dimension, more human than mechanical, since the physical distance in space is made obvious, but it gathers up and makes it possible to exchange and to mature thoughts in time.»
C.O. 15/XlI/93
«I found an abandoned wooden ladder in the vegetable garden. It is very old and broken. It holds all the marks of the pass of time. It must have been used for a lot of purposes. When I saw it, I felt it was alive. I took it to my study. I am working on it.»
A.N. 6/XII/93
«I have been thinking about the conversation we held during the supper when you started explaining to me how your proposal of an exhibition for next spring at Espais in Girona was physically materialising. From everything we talked about, there was one fact which left sediment in the ensemble; at least it has a special interest for me. I refer to the idea of the "container" and the idea of "moving". The chosen form, the "cart", has fulfilled both functions, more or less cleverly, in a more precarious or more sophisticated way. That idea made me curious about everything coming from it: dialogue, exchange, fluency of knowledge... with a subliminal message of "landscape" which I do not know how to find out, yet.»
C.O. 15/XII/93
«Cart of wood!
Why "Cart of wood"?
I am likely to learn about that in a short time. The artist himself discovers the real meaning of his work a posteriori, at times far a posteriori.
What I do know is that, for the time being, collecting wood is like collecting thoughts, ideas; you arrive home with a bundle if wood, which is a bundle of creative thoughts as well. I have a feeling which is similar to the one I used to have as a child on coming back from the woods with my childhood friends, with a bundle of wood on our backs and a lot of satisfaction inside us.»
A.N. 21 /XII/93
«Is from that perspective that I have more data in order to be able to capture the morphological idea brought by your two first letters mentioning an "old and broken ladder" and a walk to pick up some rosemary; the space of a person's memory comes from that and form part or is a crumb in that wide space that we know as collective memory.»
C.O. 29/XII/93
«I am talking about the fact of collecting ideas, thoughts and reflexions, as well as the most morphological dimension of fact, the act of creation and materialisation, together with the most existential dimension of the memory space.»
C.O. 12/I/94
«I mention that about morphologies because they have really been the visual feelings (an arranged and neat landscape with man's action, though from the medium itself); auditory: (biting olives with sticks and the fruit falling, together with the wind buzz of wind); the olfactive (that used to fill the atmosphere with a penetrating smell when the fruit was pressed); the tactile (on touching the tree, the bark, the mineral)... which have approached me to the morphologies from where you can sensorially read the "marks of the pass of time" on the "ladder". Once and for all, synthony points from which you can decode messages round us and which are, for most people less and less known grounds and, exactly for the same reason, more and more codified in clues that are strange and irrelevant to humans.»
C.O. 29/XII/93
«(...) long ago I was telling you that I could know by intuition your approach to landscape in the present work. At present, I think I can understand a reformulation of the concept that from another stage, possibly more nature, you reinforce it with what you said on your letter dated January 18th, where you express the following thought:
(...) I am sure that we artists must explain, through our artistic expression and through mass media, what we believe and think in a natural and understandable way, simple because we all have, in the spiritual ground a lot of things to share.»
«(...) above all we all give a new and clear dimension to the artistic fact, generally speaking, and to the creative act in particular; social dimension, concerning thought, without accepting or by giving little explanation in what we understand to be a purely aesthetic pleasure. I do believe that this ground is really difficult, since its borders are slippery, though very interesting because of the contribution to the reflexion of the contemporaneous artistic fact.»
C.O. 7/II/94
«( ...) difficult moments do exist in art. It is very good for you to walk and think, or write, just as I am doing at this very moment.»
A.N. XII/93
«(...) sometimes, there is a sudden silence in the study and I do not know what happens.»
A.N. 18/I/94
«(...)the general feeling is that, from work, you are reaffirming yourself as an artist, though understanding the word from the most human and humanistic point. I do not know if that is true, it is just a feeling that I am expressing to you.»
C.O. 21/II/94
«It is gratifying for an artist to know that you are working in a certain company or I had better say in complicity. You know that, like most other artists, I love working by myself but I refuse to overestimate the individual character of artistic creation. I rather believe is the existence of a shared sensitivity which goes on changing because of interrelated efforts.»
«Well, today, for the first time, you saw the works about which you already had a written or spoken reference. (The tramontane was blowing, it was cold but the atmosphere was clear).
I would like you to tell me about the sensation you had. In fact, I aim interested -in order to learn- in your initial sensation, somehow everything that is outside a most reasoned analysis. How I would be obliged for your making a certain effort to recover the light first feeling.
We spoke about a lot of things and I forgot to tell you the name of the exhibition: "Messages after the signal."»
A.N. 21/II/94
«I am writing today, after having been chatting and having coffee in your study in mas Reixach and seen the pieces that have taken your work space. Now, everyone of them is a presence explaining, from fragment, a history in images.
It was not difficult for me to approach a work; the force and the coldness coming from the material you used -iron- it establishes a subtle and kind dialogue with its contents, fragments of nature, of human histories (medical histories), moments of reflexion, fragments of time. Analogy with forms of the constant dialogue between life stage and death stage; between the medium and the individual. Presented in fragments, we can also divide our life into shots, taking the lexicon from cinematography.»
«Now, after seeing the pieces, I still strengthen the idea of moving and container, though somehow more varied, it might be the idea of passing, of movement, in fact of journey, of gathering experiences of destiny.
It might well be Itaca's idea, which I believe the Greek poet Kavafis brilliantly expressed in the poem, which, under the same name, the Catalan singer-writer Lluis Llach set to music; an idea of destiny, of an end made along one life, of some experiences, some knowledge that enrich people and make them happier, more human, from the collective to the intimate, personal, individual space.»
C.O. 21/II/94
«I am writing to you today to tell you that I would have liked you to come last Friday to Miró Foundation. We talked about the new concept of space and the approach and prejudice of the present artist in this concern, as a piston of the work and therefore as a space of opinion from the chosen language. I thought of you, about what you told me in one of your letters, where you expressed your will for a close, personal debate led in creative art in order to communicate and to make it useful for the collective -social space. Such anxiety is shared with other persons who are sensitive to the creative subject. Possibly evolutive minds and therefore I believe they are contemporaneous in lune, they came out long ago in the European artistic debate and are now attitudes which are possibly expressed in our country where space and context let timid, opening situations come out in mentalities where their structures are shyly translated as well.»
C.O. 7/III/94
«I underlined a fragment from a letter published in the catalogue of "Delivery No 4" (Lleida, Paeria, 1994):
In front of your works I understood you had taken a more determined attitude towards art. If that is true and if, just as I wish, luck is on your side, do not quite forget those who had fewer opportunities than you.
Today, your work has been a silent link between you and me. I am precisely trapped by those works which arouse this relationship of silence, this quiet presence, this way of expressing without quite saying that raises the uneasiness to want to know more and that, through the wish to satisfy, it, makes you return to your doubt.»
A.N. 7/III/94
«We have just arrived in Font Romeo and it is starting to snow. I am watching the snow falling and seemingly paralising time with a high sensorial silence. I started to write, in order to pick up and let you know an idea these places have reminded me of, concerning personal memory, both the controlled and the uncontrolled one: this is an aspect which is constantly present in the works forming "Messages after the signal". I do believe that, through the space of reason, you send us strictly personal ideas, some of them controlled, which in spite of this become signal, taking form in what we conventionally understand as "work of art". That is the point from which we can approach it and from which a new process of communication is open, as well, that tong ago we had considered as a necessary stage in any artistic process.
I only wanted to comment that.»
C.0. 1/IV/94

Catalogue de la exposición
Mensajes después de la señal
Espais, Centre d'art contemporani. Girona. (Spain) 1994