or When I am falling into the gap between Washington and the West Bank
While the world is in its usual split personality mode unable to decide whether it wants to “build back better” or it would rather “go back to normal”; art doesn’t have bany such bothers. Always renewed while rooted in old chef d'oeuvres, art hasn't stepped aside from its normal better building. And of this banal fact Julie Curtiss is a beautiful illustration.
It is difficult to talk about Julie Curtiss’ painting because it is clean, graphic and precise, yet it creates the impression of an immersive multimedia labirint. The scale is mostly large, the lines are neat, the colours are vibrant, yet the mystery is complete.
“All is hidden in the daylight” that’s my main puzzled impression. Having in mind that puzzled, disorientated and perplexed are my highs when I am on art. Else to speak, this is what I search for in art. And usually I am happy when I get a volatile moment, a nanosecond of disorientation, but Julie Curtiss, Mistress of Mystery, drowns the White Cube space in conundrum and non-dit.
“I am hiding the proces” Julie said; or maybe “I am covering my traces”; absorbed by an attempt to guess her expression hidden by the mask, I am now not sure what she really said.
Imagine private eye Phillip Marlowe. Then imagine Marlowe resolving a mystery taking place not in Santa Rosa nor LA, but between post-surrealist Paris and Jungian Vienna. And now imagine that you are watching this story depicted on the cover of a black lacquer Chinese jewelry box. Well, that is what Julie Curtiss' art is not at all.
The fact that the artist was present in the gallery and gave an extensive talk, did not even lift as much as a corner of the curtain veiling the key of the mystery. But it took me to the personal revelation that the more truthfully and laboriously one obliges to explain one's multicultural bases, references and associations - say Julie's explanations of the complex knots tied by her links to Paris, Dresden, Tokyo, Chicago and New York - the more hidden and mysterious one becomes. Which explains why I am but a constant enigma to my English manfriend.
Other than that the exhibition had the usual mind-shuffling effect on me: whatever I was thinking* on my way to the gallery - mainly frustrating thoughts of the kind: Why Joe Biden's proto-marxism is not enough for a call to Mahmoud Abbas? It seems that Arab Lives don't Matter for the Old Hypocrite trn US' New Alfa Male that still keeps the Capitol surrounded by 3400 National Guards creating a Green Zone not unlike the ones in the capitals of occupied countries. Or also, how come that if “We are always on the defensive”, as said the deputy-mayor of Jerusalem** the other day, it so happens that your territory is always expanding? - evaporated the minute I touched the angular chrome handle of White Gallery's white glass door and then in the next eight hours I had all sorts of different, mainly pleasant thoughts and even managed to do some long postponed choroses.
Later, when in the early evening my late morning thoughts came back to me, I found them metamorphosed, more optimistic, like : the fact that somebody - I won't say who otherwise I may get a call from UK Lawyers for Israel - So, if somebody bombs the olive trees out of Gaza, it doesn't mean that this somebody is more intelligent or stronger than the inhabitants of Gaza. The fact that DNAless viruses destroy magnificent, complex organisms, doesn’t make them wiser or more accomplished than the organisms they annihilate. No, trashing another nation doesn't speak neither of high IQ, nor of sophistication. It mostly speaks of split personality disorder, of a lacking health plan, of a failed vaccination program.
Later on, in my sleep, I dream of the tiny bunch of hairs that with one mighty stroke brushes off the world all the Bibis, Jojos, Momos and Pupus setting the world on its normal, better building way. A way in which the hand that creates a perfect vaccination program is also the hand that lets the sunshine.
Learning from history: Wiki's reads 'crusading was an integral part of Western European culture, and presented as a Christian duty. " Conclusion one: it still is Wiki darling, it still is. That's why tomorrow 15 May marks 73 years since the beginning of the Sixth, Passive Crusade, known as نكبة or also known under the name State of Israel.
Learning from history: "The Children's Crusade was a failed popular crusade by European Christians to establish a second Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the Holy Land, said to have taken place in 1212." The traditional narrative is likely conflated from some factual and mythical events which include the visions by a French boy and a German boy, an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity, bands of children marching to Italy, and children being sold into slavery in Tunis.." Conclusion two: this is not the first time innocent proxies are used as scapegoats in a crusade. Also this is not the first time Jewish people have been used as proxies. France used Jewish people as proxies in its North African colonies offering them the dubious privilege to be...chosen for proxies***. Chosen for fratricide - what a privilege. Happy Nakba****
Learning from history: "The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Crusader state established in the Southern Levant. It lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 ". Conclusion three: only some 100 years remain for the New Kingdom of Jerusalem to last. Probably even less, like any other colonisation this kingdom is too unnatural to last longer.
More Julie Curtiss here www.juliecurtiss.com
More about the exhibition at the White Cube here Booking is required before you visit. Advance tickets can be booked here
This exhibition is on from today 14 May to 26 June
* The artist has no responsibility for any of the author's opinions expressed in this text..
** Nobody at Twat Radio thougt to ask the logical question.
*** See The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs by Andrew Hussey
**** Nakba Day (Arabic: ذكرى النكبة, romanized: Dhikra an-Nakba, lit. 'Memory of the Catastrophe') is the annual day of commemoration of the Nakba, also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe, which comprised the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948, and the permanent displacement of a majority of the Palestinian people. It generally commemorated on 15 May, the day after the End of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel in its place. Cherchez l'Angleterre.
See the list of physical protest 'National Day of Action for Palestine' around the UK here