Chelsea Art Museum, New York
556 West 22nd Street
NY-10011 New York
artists & participants
Francisco de Goya’s etching and aquatint series “Los Caprichos”( published in 1799) is a view of both man’s power of spiritual creation and the failings of his own nature. And it is this insight into the reality of man which makes it possible for Goya to depict the human figure as beautiful and at the same time to caricature it. Such a composition of socio/political satyr, no doubt, was enlightening to the eighteenth-century rationalist, so confident about his ability to comprehend both man’s capabilities and limitations. Goya wanted to express, not represent. The plate by Goya entitled “The Sleep of Reason produces Monsters” ( first intended as title for the whole series of “Los Caprichos”) reads: “Imagination deserted by reason, begets impossible monsters. United with reason, she is the mother of all arts, and the source of their wonders.” In “Here Comes the Bogey-Man” (“Que viene el Coco”) Goya refers to the “Black Man” that children fear more than their own father as a symbol of the blind believe in authority ruling the naive and influenceable commoner. Needles to say that we have quite a few of those “black and fearful ghosts” in our culture, ever-present to create panic and fear – the consequence as in Goya’s time of superstition and bad education.
Andre Malraux in the essay “Drawings by Goya” at the Prado Museum wrote in 1947: “Goya discovers his genius the day that he dares to stop to please. He substitutes seduction with revelation and discovers the vulnerability of the spectator, the weakness of a culture put in question face to face with the artist that proclaims his truth. Goya created a desperate and solitary art – the beginning of modern painting.”
The artists in “Here Comes the Bogey-Man” give tribute to and carry the spirit of Goya into the 21st century: in a direct appropriation from “Los Caprichos” as Yasumasa Morimura and Conrad Atkinson; in a mythological way as Rona Pondick, Ray Smith and Kimiko Yoshida; as socio/political satire as Yun-Fei Ji, Ray Smith and Carlos de los Rios; in a symbolic abstract context as Madeleine Hatz; and a pun on religious issues as Masami Teraoka.
There was rarely a time more appropriate to rethink the relationship of the artist and his society as in Goya’s time and ours. The novelist Emilia Pardo Bazan wrote in 1906 in an article published in La Lectura: The history of Goya’s thought and the progressive development of moral, social, philosophical and political ideas in his work is probably more interesting than his novelistic life. As in the work of Rona Pondick and Kimiko Yoshida there is a an expressive, abnormal and violent ugliness: Romantic Ugliness.
As in Goya’s time our daily news depict monstrosity, insanity, brutality, violent madness, perversity, torture, black magic, all influencing and coloring the work of the artists in “Here Comes the Bogey-Man.” Only momentarily do we find a ray of hope in Goya’s “Los Caprichos” as well as in the work of these contemporary artists: and it is a dawn of intellectual rather then emotional hope.
Francisco de Goya: Los Caprichos
80 etchings from the collection of Museo Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón of Valladolid, Spain. This was the first and only edition printed under the supervision of the artist in 1799.
"Here Comes The Bogey-Man" - after Los Caprichos no 3 "que viene el coco"
kuratiert von Elga Wimmer
mit Conrad Atkinson, Saint Clair Cemin, Madeleine Hatz, Yun-Fei Ji, Fabian Marcaccio, Yasumasa Morimura, Rona Pondick, Carlos De los Rios, Ray Smith, Masami Teraoka, Kimiko Yoshida