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LETTER TO DANIEL SOLOMONS

Dear Daniel,

 

I warned you about what was going to happen if I went into that room. You didn’t believe me or maybe you believed me too much and that is why, as if it was a game, you asked permission to blindfold me, saying that I should trust you, and take you by the hand.  You led me through passages that I could not see (sometimes so narrow that we had to bend down and other times so wide and airy that we had to hold on to each other to fight against the hurricane we felt was coming), along uneven paths (we had to jump a couple of times, turn sharply on several occasions, zigzagging from time to time), for a time that did not seem to last for long or perhaps it lasted too long (maybe, unknowingly, you gave me some sort of drug because the effect was very similar), talking never‐endingly so that I was not able to memorise the way as if I had been, in fact, kidnapped. Then, when you abandoned me there, in the rooms where you were exhibiting your work, when you locked me in, when you told me you would not set me free until a few hours had gone by (I heard “hours” but perhaps you said “days” or “months” or “years” or “never”), I realised what was going to happen.

 

I removed the blindfold and breathed deeply, I let the space acquire its normal dimensions and rubbed my eyes. And right there, suddenly, just as I had expected, all that STUFF was threatening me. Those polished stainless steel plates, separated (or separating from one another) one centimetre from the wall and floor inside of which cold colours mixed together. They seemed to be keeping still, tame, but they vibrated like animals in season, like hungry beasts. They looked like pure embodiments of ideas, like the chapter of a metaphysical essay, but that was only a sophistry to conceal morbid feelings, wishes, carnalities, bodies in tension. They seemed like daughters of geometric sanity, daughters of the good conceptual order, of the lack of complexity of a bi‐dimensional world, but in fact, once you focused on them, you felt thrown towards a dark zone where madness, mystery and absurdity, that needed the three dimensions to rule what cannot be ruled, have their den. They looked limited and friendly, but they were the corner where infinity was lying to better digest its enemies.

 

I began to stand up slowly so as not to get those triangles nervous, those boxes, that kind of folding screens, those tunnels separated in sections that were crawling across the floor, those flat bars: volumes which were sparkling like swords, like hungry mirrors. Sharp metal, sharp mind: if you are not careful enough you run the risk of being beheaded.  It is advisable then not to take any risks.  Stand up slowly, like in slow motion so that you do not arouse any suspicions, swing graciously as the snake charmers do to hypnotize cobras, without any abruptness, unhurried. And, once you are up, adopt a natural and unconditional pose in front of the different colours (blacks and whites, blues and oranges, greys and yellows, reds and greens) because it will be within them, I said to myself, where my salvation may lie. The colours and glossiness, which take shelter within them like a hare hiding away from a fox in a burrow. The colours speaking in my favour before a court of greedy guilty dimensions. Brightness using true perception tricks to free the convict from false accusations, from false crimes, from the false (aesthetic, social, ontological) truth.

 

Once up, go forward, surround, draw near, move away, bend over, look askance, analyse.  That is what I did, Daniel. Shaky but without losing my serenity, unhappy but for the first time in a long time in the middle of myself, crafty but not wanting to hurt anyone though. I saw ghosts that did not scare me: the old Mondrian, a surly character that made a fuss as to leave him alone, and also the character from Malevich, from Max Bense, from Lucio Fontana, all of them with density plus drama and dynamism, the spectra themselves which overact in their unreal new condition, that made me smile. I saw without seeing those and other ghosts, a sentence seemed to linger in the air: “ the dream of abstraction produces monsters”. Ghosts, a sentence: that made me relax because in that territory, the territory of poetry and passion, is where I feel at home; it does not matter whether the main characters are the monsters of abstraction or the monsters of monstrosity because, transformed by the words, they are not dreadful any more and they are willing to become beautiful or at least to try to be.

 

Minimal houses which creep along the walls as if they were a mountain, which spread along the floor as if it was a valley, which open and close their doors for their inhabitants and newcomers to come in and out. Habitable and available houses for me. When I realised this, Daniel, a flash of lucidity fell over me, and I stopped being frightened. No more slayer dimensions. No more knives screeching against the grinding stone. No more hidden creatures. No more colours sailing against the icebergs to sink the liner of my soul. All of this still existed, but as an impossible possibility, as an uncertain truth, as a untested proof, as a sunstroke with no sun. Without having to give up on its principles, the abstraction as a house, the geometry as a house ,the algebra of materials as a house: the habitability of the uninhabitable, that illusion of the mind and existence, expressed with an extraordinary and sensitive intelligence in those rooms.

 

Now it was me who closed his eyes. I lay down on the floor and I went to sleep. It was nice being there. The coldness was warm. The strength had become fluffy. The squeal of the stainless steel roared like a cat. I was at home. It was my home. I do not know, Daniel, if you abandoned me there so that I learn something special without your explaining it to me (everything one learns by himself does not have any value) or if you did it as bait for your work (to feed it on living things), as an offering to your gods or demons, as a way to get rid of me. It does not matter. When you come to pick me up (in hours, days, months, years or never), you will not recognise me, you will not find me. Because I shall be inside, turned into a colour or an angle, as part of one of those houses.  

 

And because, once this alchemical act has succeeded, you and everything you represent will have vanished forever.

Jesus Aguado

Poet, translator and anthologist.

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