COME TO DUST

Karlos Gil

12.09.2020 – 31.10.2020

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Venom

The fog as a space at once physical and mental, an imaginary field wherein animals, humans and monsters coexist in a dense, dangerous and alluring atmosphere.

In this project, the idea of fog operates on a fictional plane, a territory calling for exploration and understanding, whose codes and mysteries are an alternative to scientific vocabulary; mist as an epistemological antidote to previously produced and acknowledged narratives – a gateway into another world, and into its mythical, fantastical dimensions. In this sense, while science operates in the domain of discovery, art pertains to the sphere of invention.

Karlos Gil looks into the encounter between nature, culture and technology (in other words, into second nature) for the poetic key to a wealth of doubts and fictions beyond western narratives and knowledge. In doing so, the polemical figure of the explorer is transmuted into that of the artist, whose experience in the realm of the unknown renounces the tools of destruction as the very notion of destruction is converted into an act of reality-reformulation led by the power of instincts, otherness and curiosity. Instead of a jungle, a misty woodland in which mutations occur not only in the visible landscape and animate beings, but mostly in the mental processes out of which chimeras arise

Between the obscurity of night and the extreme visibility of day light, monsters silently return to their domains, to the swampy terrain of sleep and dream, as the tracks left under the mist of our consciousness become signs of the exchanges between our perception of life, the other and the death of the world as we knew it. Mist as wonderment and transformation.

***

Lisbon, sometime in the future.

Facing the reflection on a glass cabinet topped by two serpents, I took a few moments looking for a trace, a sign, a mere wrinkle of the man I once was, or of whatever might have remained of him; my expression, mirrored on the luminous surface, and overlaid with the pharmacy’s beauty product ads, seemed not to offer any clues as to the past that I sought to conceal like someone riding themselves of the witness to a murder in broad daylight. Otherwise, as it always happens towards the end of such slow speculations before my own image, I questioned myself in disbelief about whether I had reached the irrevocable ambition of erasing myself once and for all from the face of the earth.

I put such dedication into this project that only a few memories remained of the years prior to my gradual disappearance, so to speak. Meanwhile, moved by the urgency to provide a new identity to the vanishing being – ensuring it a renewed soul, a life and a future ¬– I ended up suffering the effects of my own venom, a substance that I had been using on myself for long with the utter dedication of a cunning, insidious plan.

Day after day, I applied thick layers of emulsion to my face, in the mornings and evenings, following a deliberate step by step routine, like an impatient dandy readying himself for one final public appearance, which in my case meant something entirely different: a gradual and perverse disappearance. The poisonous substance, which nevertheless produced wondrous effects on my skin, hailed from the Far-East and its acquisition required increasingly frequent incursions into the depths of a dark web as dizzying as it was exciting.

Perhaps the slow and profound death process, rather than its foreseeable conclusion, was the true henchman of my most hidden desires? Perhaps the fear of a death with no return, of the complete annihilation of my past life, was the seminal spark of this assault on time, memory and everything and everyone I had once experienced and met.

Setting aside divine ambitions to eliminate a biography just to generate another, I must have become a veritable monster, a sort of anomaly. My less than contemplative nocturnal wanderings inevitably led me to the labyrinths of sex and the bodies of others, to the throes of a world in which hard suffering was replaced with past-less and future-less junk. Outcasts, pimps, conjurers, automatons and impostors of every stripe were brought to life by me as fast as they evaporated in my memory like a rushing and inebriating parade of shadows. Like in a game of mirrors, they acquired the strangest forms, sometimes human, or animal and robotic; medusae of a dead, post-human time, of a destiny that was lost and without return.

Bernardo José de Souza