The far-off lands of the Orient
by Philippe Daverio


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Flower children don’t dream of flowers. The children of the concrete jungle dream of flowers. In exchange flower children dream of the far-off lands of the Orient that are pasted onto the flowers of the children of the concrete jungle.
It's not a given that you’ll know who Felipe Cardeña is. He is one of the mysteries of contemporary social phenomenology. People say that he’s floating in limbo with no concrete definition, in a place where only a standard that is interpreted with difficulty keeps him confined. But it exists. That is a fact.
Authenticated testimonies reveal to us, however, that this bizarre place continues to stimulate his secretion of visual, tangible materials which enter our conformist, everyday world. These are the ectoplasm of a phantasmagorical spirit, speaking a language unrelated to common practices, consisting of genuflexions to the spirit of time and the manner of fashions. Felipe Cardeña doesn‘t know anything about the ongoing debate and doesn’t get involved in it. He finds it impossible to believe that current artworks have to be of immense size, unable to transported by common human force. He hasn’t been told about the latest diabolical inventions of video-artistic conceptuality. And he hasn’t even been told that in the era of the great crisis with no end in sight the masters of contingency have lost all interest in any expression that are not ratified by main plutocratic values of public captivation. He just carries on playing, dreaming and secreting, where he is. And petals rain down from above. He catches them with graceful, haphazard discipline, reorganizes them on paper fabric and allows some perfectly identifiable examples to appear. He has perhaps learnt from the Chinese that there can never be too many flowers and that horror vacui is not just a Gothic accomplishment. He perhaps remembers some of the experimenting by Ernst and Hausmann, the ones that they called surreal when they were gluing bits of paper and cuttings of every type in strictly black and white. Or perhaps he is moved only by Newton's perfidious law, the apple one obviously, and for this reason he accepts that the flowers inexorably will fall on the carpet. However the effect gives him a particular sense of relief. And then he thinks about it. The effect of fantasy cannot come to an end so quickly. Something else is needed.

Tiny keepsakes explode from mental compression, ready for cutting. Images that the cynic judges to be mawkish and that he maintains are extremely lovely: it's all related to determination of the level of tolerance one has for the degree of loveliness. They are all holy pictures of saints that the international imagination supplies, from the eyes of St. Odile to the dragon of George who appears to no longer be a saint, apart from in that little image, which could be declined with the depiction of an Indian demi-god. The carpet thus acquires a centre of gravity, which does not actually explain it but makes it necessary for the ambiguity of the narrative. Worthy of note.
The effect becomes hard to identify: great scope for freedom lies hidden under the appearance of kitsch.