BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND

by Alberto García del Castillo

 

"I am so happy to be welcomed in this celebratory feeling. It’s excellent, excellent, excellent!” [1].
 


My aim here, and I want the reader to know in advance, is to depict what I will from now on refer to as “über-felicity”. This is to say, a narrative strategy revealing disenchant, where a pathetic positiveness extravagance claims love and respect for our contemporary realities. These are oiled things that shine more than they should and a slippery aesthetics which does not lack of naïveté, drawing a blurry almost-kitsch atmosphere on the border between “I did not want to do that” and “this is actually how I see it.” Placing yourself over the normal bar of happiness throws you up to the podium, and far from being over the rest of your beloved ones, you sit on the very visible throne for critiques, while hoping that your smile will remain untouched. A bad composition or Carles Congost’s recent series of  Bad Painting(s) [2] are the joy of a recently varnished canvas or the opening ceremony.
 
This exhibition that you are about to see, entitled Bright Like A Diamond, is an exhibition above any other consideration; and there is a cheerful volition to make it appear in front of your eyes as so. May things look bigger than they are, but we will not spend any time comparing scales and directly join the festivities of a fresh and new set-up. This first degree presentation should from here on be understood as a foundational characteristic of über-felicity, one that I could describe as a naked settlement of arguments or a sincere storytelling. In 2013, Sarah & Charles realised the video work Props For Drama: Plot Hole [3], a three-channel video installation where an actor follows the instructions of the narrator of the story: what you hear is what you get.

Once immersed in this text, the reader can understand this piece as a direct presentation of the theatre behind the candelabra, more than a dismantling of the theatrical illusion. You might

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Bright like a diamond, 2014 © Mathilde Gintz / Clare Noonan

find it explanatory to read the presentation of one of the collaborating writers in the last issue of Vogue Hommes International, “Arthur Dreyfus is handsome, young (27), intelligent, and entranced by the question of the relationship of his own intimate history to the body, seen as an aggregate of sensations and representations, shot through with narratives, images, pleasures, and suffering.” [4]. As also are a matter of images, pleasures and suffering the spinning lyrics of Tutti Frutti in Sarah & Charles Props For Drama: Suspension of Disbelief [5] –a video work exhibited in the show you are now visiting.

Storytelling is reigned by various rules extracted from linguistics, and this we are all very aware of. When speaking about über-felicity, I would rather speak about “concessions to fiction” than analysing “constructions of fiction”. This is a wave, we are waving to theatre and cinema, and we are giving a warm hug to television. We are facing a strategy that is closer to what happens in a documentary, as when in Die große Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner (1974), Werner Herzog will make concessions to the beauty of sky-jumping within his relate about the carpenter

Walter Steiner something similar to what today is happening on the Facebook page of Tom Daley [6].


UK diver and social-media star who alternates between posts on the daily life habitudes of an elite sportsman and astonishing images of his flying sculpted body; nevertheless, his boyfriend Dustin Lance Black is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer. In Bright Like A Diamond, Carles Congost’s video The Artist Behind The Aura [7] does end with one very clear of these concessions to fiction, when the actor impersonating the artist asserts, “Whatever it was, it was working.

It did actually function pretty well and quite fast and I started to feel happy and released. I felt liberated, I felt free from some old responsibilities that suddenly were not mine anymore. I might have then seen a slight light far away. A pale but vibrant white light.

The certainty of knowing that things could begin to change for all of us.” 

There is a pretty big amount of joy in the visitation of popular aesthetics, it is the awakening after having been devoted to what Sarah & Charles clearly explain as “suspension

of disbelief”. Far from any second degree, über-felicity presents a clash between the expected and the desired, the pop taste and that of a mind placed slightly out of the path. What you are about to see is almost what you are expecting to view. As a matter of fact, in 2014, Carles Congost launched an EP featuring the italo-disco pop singer Ryan Paris entitled Pepsi Love [8]. By the time you’ll get to visit this exhibition, Sarah & Charles will have shoot their next video work, a counter piece to Props For Drama: Suspension of Disbelief, this time framed in a very naturalistic ambience, but still busy with the real-fake idiosyncrasy of the audiovisual format. 

 

This is the story of the exhibition that you are about to enjoy.

[1] Lily McMenamy, “Google Poetics” in 89plus Marathon, exhibition co-curated by Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist (London: Serpentine Galleries, 2013), see: http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/serpentine-galleries-89plus-marathon/ (accessed 22 July 2014).

[2] Bad Painting by Carles Congost is a spin-off of his previous video work La Mala Pintura, 2008. The series Bad Painting is currently composed by two chapters and will be completed with new videos to come.

[3] Props For Drama: Plot Hole, 2013Multichannel video, Full HD, colour, stereo sound, 20 minutes

[4] “Guest List”, Vogue Hommes International Paris, hors-série 19 (Spring - Summer 2014): p. 70

[5] Props For Drama: Suspension of Disbelief, 2013Single channel video, Full HD, color, stereo sound, 16:9, 14 minutes, 07 seconds[

6] Follow Tom Daley on https://www.facebook.com/TomDaleyOfficial (accessed 26 August 2014)

[7] The Artist Behind The Aura, 2014Single channel video, Full HD, color, stereo sound, 16:9, 25 minutes approx.

[8] Listen to Pepsi Love (Woman On Holiday 2014, Barcelona) on http://thecongosound.bandcamp.com/album/pepsi-love-feat-ryan-paris-ep (accessed 27 August 2014)

[9] Follow Komplot on https://www.facebook.com/kmplt (accessed 27 August 2014)