GO ON CLEAN HEARTED
The first time I watched “I’m too sad to tell you,” a performance by dear Dutchman Bas Jan Ader, I was very impressed with the questions that came to my mind. I felt that I was witnessing an artist movement where the purge issues were central. We know that purging is intrinsic to the artistic act, but still, this question seemed more latent and vigorous than ever.
I was especially interested in the deformities of the face when we are so afflicted with pain and crying. When we cry, features stretch and pull, reach malleable, frightening, even dehumanized forms. Sometimes we look like gargoyle or demons, which is curious, given that the idea of purging starts from Christian premises.
Then the questions: could it be possible to induce, in myself, the apex of visceral crying through the performative act? And if I reached this apex, what would be the deformations of my face? And if I reached this summit, would I be closer to healing?
For this performance, I then entered a few days earlier into an absolute process of retrieving personal memories and above all unresolved internal issues. These questions were of the most diverse order, but above all: those connected with the recent rupture of a huge love and those related to an old job, where I went through harassment and abuse by two male employers.
In one room, I prepared a row of ink-filled glass cups, and a large, intact white canvas ahead. I took meaningful pictures and texts and I kept looking, analyzing and dissecting this material until I reached an emotional exhaustion point, and when I did, I painted the canvas in line with my physical condition at that moment: throwing the glasses on the canvas. The result was a fragmented and dotted painting, reminiscent of Pollock’s imagination.
Also, the title of the performance turned out to be substantial for my own personal interpretation of the process. I preferred to use the expression “go on clean hearted” rather than “go on with a clean heart” because it seems desperately important to realize that a single, intermittent heart inhabits my body. Irreplaceable or unchangeable in nature, this same heart is doomed to fail and will be continually tainted over the years, and it will not be possible to change for a new one, but there is a constant practice of subjective cleansing.