Thursday, May 31, 2012


Gone, Muddy Waters or Keith Moon, gone, the two lovers whose heartbeats were recorded on the audiotape, gone Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp... Nostalgia could be the title of the exhibition "The Prelives of the Blues" from the conceptual artist Dario Robleto at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The rooms are quiet but the works are all about music. For example, "The Minor Chords Are Ours", 2010, is made with "vintage mason jars, vintage wooden spools, stretched audiotape, minor chords, linseed oil, willow". Further comments state " The minor chords from a family's 60 year record collection were isolated to audiotape, stretched into thread and spooled." The text along the composition is essential for its interpretation. " Lunge For Love As If It Were Air", 2012, reaches romantic undertones with two symbolic feathers enclosed in a mason jar, like two relics, still for eternity, made of "stretched audiotape of two now-deceased lovers' recordings of each other's heartbeats".
The artist uses other materials to evoke love, death, memory. The stars in the night sky are photographs of stage lights taken from the album covers of deceased musicians' live performances. Muddy written on the wall is made of seashells, each exposed to Muddy Waters' music for 48 hours. A triptych in blue, like an abstract painting, is a ghost image of the original handwritten lyrics of a song.
It turns morbid, with two anatomically perfect pelvises made of " hand-ground and powderized vinyl and shellac records, and carved vinyl records, bone calcium, resin, pigments and dust", tightly bound, music literally in the bones. The artist becomes an alchemist and transforms matter not in gold but memories.
The exhibition goes on with four kitschy wall pieces and more works made from everyday objects, artefact's, even glass produced by lightning strikes or the first atomic bomb. Every piece brings more reflections.
Innuendos, shadows of memories, the work is sensitive, poetic, exudes melancholy, what we call "the blues" in the South.

 photographs by the author
"Lunge For Love As If It Were Air", 2012
"The Sun Makes Him Sing Again (Brown)", 2012

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