ZDB

Visual Arts
Exhibitions

the distance between you and stanley brouwn each time you remember this sentence

— curated by deyson gilbert

18.05 — 20.07.24
ZDB 8 Marvila — Rua Amorim 2, 1950-022 Lisboa

Opening:
May 18th
3pm — 12am

ARCOlisboa:
May 20th-26th
12pm — 8pm
Free entry.

Schedule:
May 27th to July 20th
Wed — Sat: 3pm — 8pm
Entrance: 3€

from moraes-barbosa collection

perhaps the first point would be to avoid a possible mistake: that of granting to the brouwnian invisibility a certain impervious body contour
as if its negativity could fatally carve in the air the bone of a transfigured aesthetic apparition
as if his image refusal should necessarily impose on our eyes the ignis fatuus of an aesthetic halo hypostasis
as if, by turning off the lights in a locked room full of live and dead cats, we could metaphysically scream, despite all the clotted blood:
yes! yes!
here all cats are brown!

s.a. talking about s.b. in an interview to d.g.

 

stanley brouwn  

+

alphonse allais

art & language

georges annekov

joseph beuys

manon de boer

igno cuypers

johann cruyff

hanne darboven

on kawara

kitasono katsue

anton de kom

paulo leminski

richard long

gilles mahé

magdeleine marx

georg marcgrave

cecília meireles

cildo meireles

reinaldo moraes

roman opalka

richard t. outcoult

giulio paolini

décio pignatari

ad reinhardt

leni riefenstahl

neide dias de sá

august sander

valentina soares

laurence sterne

wolf vostell

robert walser

ludwig wittgenstein

preface

it was through his daughter that i first received the news:

     s…… has cancer.

(she always referred to her father only and exclusively by his first name)

due to circulation problems and intense thrombosis in his legs, doctors chose to amputate both his feet.

     everything indicates that they will amputate them tomorrow morning,

     but it could be after noon today.

     they still don’t really know.

the following week, she called me on a video call while visiting her father in the hospital.

s.a. appeared to smile behind a mask as he asked his daughter to capture on camera the dance of his freshly severed legs.

this was the first time I heard s.a. make reference to a figure from the european art scene:

     “i miss someone like bernhardt or roth at times like these. they would be the type of people who would come up here and say: what’s up, man? where have your feet been walking?”

i met s.a. when i was in germany for the first time in mid-2015 to participate in an exhibition with other brazilian artists.

a friend, who had nothing to do with art, had written down on paper a confusing series of coordinates on how to locate his building on the long and desolate karl marx strasse in berlin.

     he doesn’t use a phone. the only way is to go there and knock on his door. if you’re lucky, he’ll help you. he is the best person you can talk to about these correlations between saturn and binah.

at that time i was still recovering from a serious accident in which my left leg was crushed between a car and a pole on a street in são paulo.

when i finally met s.a. after three failed attempts on his building’s intercom, he was amused by the fact that, despite him being the old one, i was the one using a cane to walk.

     while one hand wields the staff, the other must support the oily light of the anointment.

     the head must have its curls woven in silver threads.

     beneath his feet, the crushed skulls of all the firstborn who were eternally beheaded in the name of laius.

over the next few years, despite their erratic nature, our exchanges would always prove to be intense and fruitful. without, however, ever giving me any access to the details of s.a.’s personal life.

most of the time, there was a kind of tacit agreement that meant our contact was restricted exclusively to the mystical-practical scope of my doubts.

hence my total surprise when i discovered in that hospital call that s.a., already an octogenarian at that point, had come into direct contact with people like peter handke, arno schmidt, hanne darboven, thomas schmidt, dieter roth, barth hugues, robert jasper grootveld, yves klein, timm ulrichs, and several other notable figures of the european artistic avant-garde of the second half of the 20th century.

it was in this context that i first heard s.a. mention the name stanley brown.

     i met s.b. in dusseldorf when the people from zero launched that balloon into the air.

     he was there in the middle of everyone.

     he was wearing an overcoat.

     i have the impression that every time i saw s.b., he was wearing a coat, even in the heat.

     if you look at the most famous photo of the balloon action, the one shot from above, you can see me there in the crowd.

     s.b. was there also, but you can’t see him in the photo.

from then on, in subsequent conversations, i always took care to have a blank sheet of paper and a pen at hand to take notes (recording any of those calls with or without permission was something completely out of the question in that context).

it was in this way that, amidst a myriad of subjects of all kinds, i ended up composing a long series of notes on s.a.’s peculiar considerations on the work and artistic trajectory of s.b. (there were also many digressions to other topics, including the magical drawings of franz bardon, the mystical traps of liber al, the self-trepanation of hugues, the revolutionary engagement of eliphas levi, etc. etc.)

even during the pandemic, i decided to start working on those notes in order to restore something of their original dialogical structure.

sometime later, always through his daughter’s cell phone, i read to s.a. some of the first reconstituted versions of our conversations.

he then gave me several instructions on how to reformulate his speech in order to make it more faithful to the “mystical, magical and dull” spirit of our intercourses.

     it will be a waste of time if you only include what i said or didn’t say about s.b.

     it would be better if you mixed everything i said with the mystical and political nonsense that i always end up talking about.

without me knowing, our dialogue about editing these talks would become our last and final conversation.

before dying, s.a. asked his daughter to tell me that, for mystical and gematric reasons, he preferred to be identified in these interviews only by the initial letters of his name.

all the present research on s.b. is based on the reconstituted and re-edited content of these hospital dialogues.

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