The Bearable Lightness of Walls - Claudio Cosma - Fred Charap
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The Bearable Lightness of Walls – Claudio Cosma

Cadeau by Man Ray is one of the first Dada objects ever to be made, a piece of iron with the
addition of 14 nails which modify its original function and transform it into an artwork.
With all the obvious differences, the operation I carried out when setting up Charap’s walls is
quite similar. The heaviness of these artistic structures, in the shape of massive and archaic
walls, is nullified thanks to the simple intuition of detaching them from the ground, thus depriving
them of their typical gravitational inertia. These walls truly expand vertically, almost striving
to compose some form of watchtower or aspiration to climb upwards , in a Babylonian type
manner. Those who choose to observe these walls will find no obstacle to block their advancement,
no barriers to impede the crossing of a frontier, the passing of a border; instead,
they will find a suggestion to look upwards, to direct their thoughts to the sky and above all
to the stars, capable of infinitely widening our perspective. No horizon is foreclosed: if we
choose to follow the implicit suggestion coming from the wall portions constituting Charap’s
smooth surfaces, we can meditate endlessly on the heights above. Before doing so, however,
we will need to focus on the surfaces, notice how they are arranged along the architectonic
lines which host them, as a form of continuation, thus transforming their spatial dimension or
enclosing them to obtain new concluded spaces. These sculpture paintings can be used to
build new environments.
The surfaces of these walls, often characterized by a front and a back yet with no thickness,
are treated similarly to a material conglomerate, a part of atmospheric agents marking their
structures as the work ages or as a life of its own. These are contributions, sediments, concretions
referring to the two different temporal dimensions which pervade them: the time of artistic
creation, with its specific transformational passages related to a choice of techniques, and the
time needed for the oil paints to dry, totally or partially, thus allowing for new layers to be added,
without however reciprocally transferring any of their material nature, as in the glazing technique
used by Renaissance painters. The latter form of time is that described by narration and representation.
With the passage of time, the multiple materials at play blend into a single composition,
similarly to the solidifying of magma. When the glues, the variously-shaped cottons, the different
jutes, the simple or knotted threads – the former resembling old climbing plants and the latter
reminding us of barbed wire fences -, the differently diluted oil paints, when all these elements
will achieve their final consistency then only one time will remain, the time of the finished artwork.
[…] “E intanto fugge questo reo tempo e van con lui le torme delle cure onde meco egli si
strugge” […] – […] “Meanwhile this guilty age passes away, and with it the crowds of cares
depart, so that it dissipates with me” […] – Ugo Foscolo “Alla sera”, these few verses of a sonnet
by Foscolo re-emerge from my past as a student, suggested by Fred Charap’s artworks,
complex memory deposits and sediments of history both personal and universal.

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