I don’t trust space.
I believe on individual existence but I don’t trust that space exists…. and I do… it is so contradictory because the idea of space affects me in a very intense form.
It all started with the idea of culture. First let me make clear what is culture to me . Culture is the way I see myself, the other and the rest of the world. All the rest is already cultural production. The way you sleep and wake up, the way you sit on bed and go to bathroom, the way to use the toilet and brush your teeth… the way you walk and breath, the way you chew the food…. it is all cultural production already. It became the biggest problem of my life. And it is closed related with space.
Let me pretend I am changing the subject here:
I love dogs, they are one of the most sophisticated human creation, if not the most sophisticated human creation of all times of the civilization. The man took the wolf and for thousands of years manipulated it till arrive on those almost 500 registered breeds we have now. Even so , different of many other human creations it was impossible for man to take its main marks of the God’s creation: the soul. Everything God created on wolf is still there. You can say that the dog is a partnership between man and God.
At school and college we learn to study the History of the civilization and more specific, Western Civilization by the angles of Economy, Wars, Politics, Religions, Science, Industry, Commerce, Art, as it is all closely related. But because of my fascination for dogs many years ago I started to study breeds and its origins, from Persia and China to Romans and later the Europe. Studying the dogs I had the most fascinated view of the Western History, much closer than any art study, economy or religious gave me before. The dogs were present on every levels and activities of the societies. All social classes. They were hunters, shepherds, warriors, guards, sports, transports, and even companions. While studying the other characteristics ( art , politics, economy….) I had only a general view of the societies where was explained as bigger phenomenon, but studying dogs I was allowed to get into the homes, to see the everyday life of the different European people from different countries and centuries. I could see their clothes, houses, fields , forests , weather, food , ornaments, needs… in a very particular way and of all social class or activity.
So I can say that studying breeds of dogs was my passport to get closer to understand a world that to me didn’t matter how much I saw it on books, movies or TV , seemed like fiction and even a confuse fairy tale.
I needed this more than you can imagine. I needed more information as possible about this place culture and people I didn’t understand and couldn’t deal with.
I was 15 or 16 years old. My neighborhood had many mansions and expensive houses but at the time had some vacant lots with lots of trees always between big houses. One of then had an empty house with no roof, windows or doors, only the walls made of heavy cement bricks. We kids used to go to these places for getting stoned and waist time. One day my friends had the idea of demolishing that house only kicking it. It seemed a good idea to me, we had nothing better to do.
After few minutes I was working on a wall alone demolishing bricks by bricks when I decided to stop. I left the house and got close of it among trees looking my friends kicking it and having fun observing the walls falling apart. I was happy and smiling. But I started to pass my hands on my head and hair and get a very bad feeling of anxiety, the world around stopped to make sense. No I wasn’t stoned that day. I think if we had used any kind of drugs we wouldn’t do that as it could drive attention of the neighbors and they could call the police. We only did bad things when we had no drugs and no excuse to be arrested for anything more serious than enjoying a nice vandalism.
The house falling down didn’t make me think so much how time destroys everything , but made get impressed with the idea that it had existed. How? Did it ? When did it exist? Right here? Because I can’t understand or deal with “here”. What is Here? It can’t be real. No way.
I suspect of reality as a 9 years old children starts to suspect of Santa Claus. I grew up like that. Reality meant place and place wasn’t for real.
My neighborhood’s population was formed by people that alleged that were from Europe: Germany , Austria , Switzerland, Denmark or USA ( I am not from here, they said )… the three schools there were one North American, one Swiss and one German.
The rest of Sao Paulo city, millions of people, had a totally different culture, Iberic ( Italian, Spanish , French, Portuguese ) or Midle East ( Sirian, Libanese, Turkish, Arabian ) origin, and didn’t relate themselves as something similar or familiar with the things I lived in my area.
My ancient relatives claimed the same: ” We are not from here”…. they came from distant lands with different cultures.
I watched on TV North American movies, sitcoms, cartoons…. I had since was very small to be able to understand other people’s reality ( culture ), and more or less ignore mine to be able to just turn on the TV in the morning and watch an innocent Tom and Jerry cartoon.
I was fanatic for rock’n'roll and with 8 years old had already a huge collection of albums and liked this kind of music because everything produced on my own country wasn’t able to talk to me. I didn’t like Brazilian= Rio de Janeiro’s production. It didn’t touched me at all. But with only 6 years old I wasn’t able to understand one single English word but Ozzy Osborn or Quiet Riot, Twisted Sisters, and all the Pop Rock, New Wave and mainstream heavy metal of the time was able to understand me so well.
I used to see Brazilian productions for kids on TV and I disliked that, was like a torture to me. I didn’t see me on those kids or on what they were doing. But I had a Michael Jackson t-shirt and a BMX bike exactly like the ones the kids had on the E.T movie ( I still love the both: Michael Jackson and the E.T movie).
It was a mess in my head. Really, it was like being a schizophrenic during the whole life.
When teenager and young adult I tried hard to blend and become a Brazilian, I tried to like everything adopting all reference to this culture I saw…. but they didn’t accept me and I didn’t adapted myself to the view of individual, community and the way they used to see the rest of the world.
When I saw the house at the vacant lot being demolished by my friends, all then very German like kind and distant of what seemed to be real life or real world, I got in a total crises about identity. And felt so distant of then too, I saw I had a different nature for some reason I didn’t understand. Not only personal identity but the identity of the place, the culture…. the the fact how much it all could be real or exist. You can say it is a very teenager thing and would pass.
I was never able to deal with space. Space and its identity as I was never able to deal with mine own.
I never was able to deal with the idea of existing on, in, into, at, by a space.
I didn’t understand any more the concept of distance and cultural differences. I didn’t understand why the only people that was able to create music, movies and books were people I couldn’t touch, see, people that was told to me they lived in different continents, cultures, different races. What ? It can’t be possible, the ones by my side don’t talk what I can relate with and distant people that don’t know me and totally ignore my existence can touch me so deeply ? How it that possible ? It is so abstract. I didn’t understand the concepts of other places anymore. ‘”what do you mean exists a place called New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin ? It is too abstract. How can you affirm the only way to get there is flying ? Too abstract , I can’t deal with it , I looked to the world map and it didn’t make any sense, looked only like a drawing made by a kid. What do you mean the musicians that are able to express my feelings are from Seattle’s area or Oregon? What is it? Place? Is it a place… but it makes no sense at all.
As teenager I had fanzines talking about garage bands and the only ones that traded fanzines with me and sent me cassette tapes with new bands were people from Sweden, Finland, they didn’t speak my language and I didn’t speak theirs, even so were the only ones that had interest on what I was “talking” about music and the only ones I totally understood the musical taste and the way to deal with art.
Why “real ” people had to be so distant and abstract while the near ones by my side where unexpressive and irrelevant ?
( Now I remember about my parents and siblings. Every kid has its own brush teeth, right? I had my own brush teeth, my own cup, dish, fork, knife, spoon, bedroom, nobody was allowed to touch ………. My family was so distant to me and unreal that they were repulsive and disgusting. Since very small I didn’t let my mother touch me, or my father, a simple hug was able to make me react in a rude way and the family started to argue and fight. My parents didn’t look real, they didn’t look married having no affection with each other, my sisters and brother were so different of me and similar my parents. I didn’t match that, I didn’t have the same sense of humor and didn’t like the same activities. I didn’t have a so bad relationship and submitted myself to their values, even so I didn’t understand my position on that group. I didn’t and any specialist did. I spent my entire childhood till 13 years old going to all the kind of specialists and charlatans as my mother and my school wanted to figure out why I was so “problematic”, a bad student , a bad son, a bad brother, a bad friend, a bad everything. All the specialists had totally different diagnostics and in 1988 with 13 years old the last one just gave up. He took me by the arm, angry, let me to the waiting room where my mother was and said :”" Listen, he doesn’t want to be helped, he doesn’t even understand what is doing here, I give up and you should too, there is nothing wrong with him, he is only a bad ass motherfucker ( the only expression I found in English to translate his words ). You must to learn to live with it and if one day he decides that needs help he will look for it by himself, it is time to stop to waist his youth and your money with all specialists you can find”" . This made me grow up with the idea that I wasn’t able to understand anything out of myself and the external world wasn’t able to deal with me at all. I was only sure that wasn’t an autistic because specialists had said I wasn’t it many years before I knew what it means).
I became Christian for several reasons but one thing I never swallow is : Why here, God? Why made me born on this place that is not more than a black hole to my life and made my existence so miserable making me only be able to see the internal individual inside of me and being forced to ignore all the exterior? Do exist worse places than Brazil to me? Yes, most part of the planet is. But exists places where I would be able to have a real and opened life and not this fictional experience.
Back to the idea of need to study dogs, I had to study the world and History as much as possible, all the way and angles I could find or create. Studding History and Psychology was a way to try to find proves of existence. Like Archeology of the space itself and the individual existence, I needed proves. Proves that the place where I was born and raised was real and not an illusion. Proves that the so called USA , Europe = The other side of the world really existed and wasn’t a lie or a fairy tale only to sale products to me and make me believe that has other way to exist on this dimension of the existence. Proves that all what had formed my identity and personal culture wasn’t a mental disease created by my brain. Proves that I wasn’t a mental patient in an institution and all I had lived, listened , read, watched, tasted wasn’t only my imagination.
Then…… even being Brazilian and having my passport denied everywhere I found a way to get a visa and go to Europe. I was 31 years old. Not a picnic living 31 years suspecting of reality and my own nature so intensively.
After many many many hours of the airplane flying over clouds and oceans I saw land. I didn’t recognized, was only land, could be anywhere , the airplane could have turned around and returned to Brazil, didn’t make any difference.
I only knew I was going to Amsterdam because the ticked had Amsterdam written on it.
Suddenly I started to see green lands, and then little houses, little roads……it was different of Brazilian landscapes. I almost cried. I am almost crying now writing this.
IT EXISTS!!! My brain started to scream. It isn’t an abstract painting as I saw when I was looking to European painters in Sao Paulo museums and very controlled art institutions. It exists. Isn’t a lie. I saw a man walking on a field among tall grass and held my tears. Exists a place called “the other side of the world” and it has people in there. Look, they walk, they breath….. they exist too. It is so weird.
Later living in London didn’t matter how much I got very well impressed with all I saw and things that existed for centuries ( in Sao Paulo nothing is older than 60 or 70 years ), didn’t matter how much I loved the beauty of everything….. what impressed me more was the fact people there walked , ate, breathed, smelled, talked, as I did…. and one really curious thing almost surrealistic: they noticed my presence, talked and touched me. I existed in front of then and they existed too !!!!!! It can sound absurd, idiotic, ridiculous or sick to you…. but to me it was a revolution in my mind.
The life stopped to be abstract. The place was for real. Everything made sense to me because I was part of that. I was there. I was there !!!!I was part of that.
Part of that. Kind of.
Well, I didn’t go to London because I wanted to be specifically at London, but because it was the easier place to get a visa. The idea I had of London was the one I saw on movies and listened on the lirics of the songs. I thought London was a gray depressing place with lots of Skinheads and Punks fighting on the streets and Football Hooligans killing tourists. Just that. Really. I didn’t expect anymore.
It was a surprised. First it really existed. wow, just this would be enough to me !!! Second: the city is beautiful about everything. The English , that before in my mind were all big head drunk and neo nazis kind of people…. as a matter of fact were extremely polite, funny, kind and sympathetic people. They all were so nice with me . Different of the immigrants and their kids that made my life a hell. So I became a Nazi there hating all immigrants in UK ( as the English didn’t seem to hate immigrants as much as I tought was necessary ) and hated what all they were doing with that beautiful lovely country. And everything there made sense to me. I existed, I existed. I existed !!
It brings me to the main reason that made me come back to the black hole called Brazil.
There are too reasons. I can’t forget then.
First and most important.
I loved London so much that in a very fast way did everything I could to become a model citizen. I obeyed all the laws and rules, pay all the taxes, was polite with every single one and even helped always was necessary. Well, let me be fair, I wasn’t doing more than what the English people were doing to me. I didn’t understand why all the immigrants I met hated so much the local people and local culture. All the troubles I had living there were created by then. So when my visa was to expire I received many proposals to stay in the country as illegal, I would have house and job and live a normal life. I refused all the times these proposals appeared. I would never accept to do anything illegal in a place I loved so much. I would never become what I hated more: member of the immigrant community that was destroying the culture of a wonderful place like a virus only taking advantage of it and never giving any positive feed back. Never …..didn’t matter the reason, even if the consequence was the biggest nightmare of my life: to return to the place were existence is questionable, people and culture is irrelevant, the hateful birthplace of mine. Now looking back I see I was in part wrong and overreacting about immigrants, but you must to understand I was in a very fragile situation and afraid to lose what I had just discovered. So I disliked every single thing or people that had different values or was against that culture in any level.
But has a second reason. And I must to be realistic about it even being so painful. Didn’t matter how well English or other Europeans used to treat me, how polite they were and how much they respected me. I was always a foreigner. Anyone that met me, in one minute of conversation or less, asked me : “Where are you from?” . I said was from Brazil and they got surprised. I always was well threaten saying that was from Brazil and even some doors got opened to me only because of this. But I hated this situation. I hated not be part of that. I didn’t want to be English or European, I only wanted to blend. Impossible, suffocating, disappointing. Every day I listened ” Are you from France? Canada? Italy?” Does it matter? It is plain to see you judge me as a different one. I will never blend , become part of it doesn’t matter how much I love it. I looked to the local guys always trying a look that could make then different of the crowd and all I wanted was to become invisible there, to be only one more and have a normal life. Suddenly the lyrics of the songs I listened sounded very silly. Rockers singing that they didn’t want to be only one more having a mediocre life. “”Ungrateful bastards”" I used to say to myself. This is all I wanted when was there, to go to work as everybody else, to pay my bills, to have a normal home being an average guy, only one number, I would be happy to be a number, didn’t need a name, I only wanted to be there where existence and the concept of place makes sense to me. I wanted to be one more and nothing else. Not an exotic man who everybody asks where is from.
So I was a strange body at my own country and a eternal foreigner abroad.
Again existence and the concept of place started to make no sense to me. I got very sad in London, loving that place, culture and people, and getting depressed about myself or very angry with destiny. I was lonely about every single aspect of life as I was before in Brazil and it wouldn’t change. An eternal foreigner, an eternal Brazilian… I hate to have been born and raised here. I am using the word “hate” with all the intensity this word had when was created or more. It destroyed my life , identity, brain… and even worse, all my possibility to live on this world in a health and decent way. Brazil is the source of all the bad things in my life . All then with no exception. I don’t think I could be a terrorist as a Christian I do believe I must to love my enemies. I am not loving it so much but I am at least forgiving , step by step…It is a long process and I am not in a hurry.
One day before my visa expired I went to the Airport and came back, arriving to Sao Paulo I spent more than one year in bed, I used to spent 15, 16 days not eating noting, only leaving the bed once a day for drinking tap water at the bathroom and going back to bed. I was ready to die… I am not dead by miracle. The only way to explain it. Then in April of 2009 I got a computer as gift and started my blog Mein Welt ( maybe now you can understand better this name ), what made me start to paint again…. the rest of my story anyone that have followed my blogs since then knows already.
I wrote it all to try to explain why I refuse to work the background of my paintings.
On my paintings it is only the individual dealing with itself, away from any idea or concept of space.
I can’t deal with space yet. I can’t deal with the idea of having other people in my life as I barely am able to deal with myself. I believe on my own existence but don’t believe the rest of universe exists. Today the only meanful relationships I have is by internet. It isn’t more abstract than my relationships before internet. Only more sincere. I got a job that 3 times a week makes me walk 15 minutes from my house and teach abstract concepts to middle class people that don’t even know what to do with it or if I say I am an artist they woulnd’t know what art is and think I am a zombie from other dimension ( they are right ). I work for 2 hours and come back home. This is the whole world to me now. This has been my life for the last year.
As I believe in Miracles ( as the Ramones song ) I pray to God to make one in my life ( yes , God to me is billions of times more real than anything in my life ). I pray to Him to make a miracle where everything in my life starts to exist for real and make sense…. or kill me as fast as possible. Because I can’t accept , bare or deal with middle term. Middle tern is middle existence , and an existence can’t happen by parts, it must to be the real deal, the whole thing. Middle term is mediocrity and mediocrity can’t support itself. And everything at this place, territory named Brazil is so middle term, this culture, this people, these values.
Caio Fern: since the year 2000 no fucking background on the paintings. I don’t accept space in my existence as it has presented itself. No landscapes no objects. It was never proved that I exist among these things and it has never proved itself to me. Fuck off.
I paint self portraits that don’t look like what I see on the mirror but look like what I really see by light. I paint what I feel about my own existence as independent of the matter as possible. Sure, never totally independent of it.
I don’t believe on you Space !!! You have never proved itself. You are only an illusion and torment that limits my existence. You are satan’s creation.
I don’t want to tell the story now , but Aterces Adiv was the concept created in 1995 when I wanted to express the idea that art must to be the expression of internal searches, investigation and most important , manifestations with no distraction and nothing hidden. Aterces Adiv in Sao Paulo’s Portuguese is the opposite of ” Vida Secreta” = Secret Life.
So in art nothing must to be hidden doesn’t matter the effects it is going to have. Everything must to be exposed. The most direct way.
You join this Aterces Adiv concept with the explanation about me relationship with space=culture I wrote above and you will have a good idea of what my paintings are expressing.
The tentative of destroying Sao Paulo, Brazil, space/culture in me recreating a being more independent of it all with its own culture and values where the space to be lived is in my mind , more real than the reality. It was created in 2003 when I was 28 years old and didn’t matter if I would die or live. I choose to live, but with the condition I could get rid of the world around me creating and adopting my own values.
It all sounds schizophrenia….and I studied it so much to be sure of my mental condition. Only for the fact I suspected that was crazy shows I am not, this kind of metal ill makes people never suspect. And what I found about its different kinds and levels don’t match with my situation. Not forgeting I did short analysis during the College years, not counting the intence analysis I did between 8 and 13 years old. So schizophrenia or other kinds of psychoses aren’t my problem. I think it is all about a simple fact. I am a misfit and I don’t accept the values of the place I was born and raised. Simple like that. If I was smarter I would build my own town, or find a way to live in a better country and don’t feel or don’t care for being treated as a stranger.
But I am not smart enough to solve real problems of life, identity and existence in general and the only thing I can do with myself is to paint in a tiny room pathetically posting its production on a blog.
Thank you for your attention, hope my English skills didn’t bother you so much as the few I learned of it was watching sitcoms on TV and listening punk rock. And no way in hell I am going to express myself with the language of this place where I …. ( hard to admit , hard to say in loud voice )… I am from and live.
( if it really exists .
Al the best.
Caio Fern, Der Konig von Mein Welt.
photos taken one week ago when I needed shower, shaving, clean clothes and some sleep… I was exhausted … yes , I was filthy and feeling disgusting
POSTED BY CAIO FERN AT 17:43