Monday, November 19, 2018 • Evening Edition • "Comics: we give a crap!"

Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)

Written by Arion on Friday, October 19 2012 and posted in Blog

The Living End (1992)
Directed by Gregg Araki

Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)
Hugo Salazar
Gregg Araki is a brilliant director that finds in subversive and polemic subjects a complexity and richness that would pass unnoticed for other filmmakers.

"The Living End" is a story that deals with death. However, unlike most movies Araki has found a balance between Freudian Eros and Thanatos. The life drive and the death drive are equally as important for Jon and Luke, the protagonists. They alternately assume different roles regarding impeding death. For Jon, at first, is denial when he confronts the fact that he has AIDS. He trusts in his doctor's words when is told that this diagnosis does not equal a death sentence. Not just yet anyway. Luke, on the other hand, has a clear self-destructive tendency; he seems to be wandering off amidst repellent streets and dangerous highways, with no goals and no real desire.

They meet. They have sex. But here sex is devoid of the Freudian libido. Sex at first may be a consequence of the life drive but ultimately it's but an act of despair, it's the result of an undeniable lack of hope. And what is hope in the end? Is it an abstract concept or rather the force that prevent us from languishing in a situation in which our success is never guaranteed? I'd venture to say that hope comes down to one element: creation. And it's clear for the viewers that Jon and Luke will never be able to create a life together, their existence has already been forfeit.

"Afterlife is just this pathetic notion people cling to in order to avoid confronting their own mortality" explains Jon to Luke. And according to Slavoj Zizek he is absolutely right. In "The Seven Veils of Fantasy" Zizek explains that fantasy gives structure to reality. Fantasy is what allows people to confide in the symbolic order, fantasy is also more powerful than people might expect. Fantasy is the imaginary support upon which we build everything: we don't see human bodies we only see bodies through a certain fantasy; in fact, certain neurosis consist in seeing the body as it is (a disgusting cumulus of fluids, excrement, viscera and blood), and as a result there is a complete rejection of the other, or the constantly paranoid fear that contact with others will bring forth contamination or filthiness. Fantasy also structures desire ("what am I in the eyes of the other?"). Is Luke this rude, gay-macho version of Clint Eastwood or is this irresponsible, childish guy that makes Jon laugh with his nonsense? Is Jon this well-behaved gay, a productive member of society, or is he an absolute desperate person (willing to embark upon a nearly suicidal road trip with his newly found lover) that seeks out an indefinable truth that will give meaning to his remaining days? Fantasy also allows people to understand abstract concepts. What is a nation, for example? Benedict Anderson defines nations as "imagined communities", id est, arbitrary creations upon which people agree on.

Nevertheless, the most important conception of fantasy here is that which veils and hides the real. Fantasy secludes oneself from the awful truth. Fantasy nurtures mythological and theological narratives that deal with something that has frightened people since the dawn of time: death. Sometimes, fantasies that veil the horror of death are as clumsy as the nice and tidy instructions and warnings one receives in every flight concerning the possibility of an "accident" (one has but to wonder what use a fastened security belt has when most airplane crushes end up turning people into a pulp, scattered tissue, that prevents even dental records to be obtained from the wreckage), but also as influencing and historically relevant as the heaven versus hell narrative that church still proclaims to this day.

What is "The Living End"? It is a glance of what happens once we withdraw from fantasy. Araki's film shows us what happens when death is no longer an abstract concern but a certainty. It demonstrates that a once life-driven Jon can lose all hope thanks to a medical diagnosis and thus embrace a death drive; it demonstrates that for all his bravado, Luke might not be the overtly self-destructive, death-seeking guy we saw in the first scenes. Life drive turns into death drive and vice versa (the extraordinary last scene condenses a powerful eroticism in contrast with an incontestable death wish). But one thing is clear: The veil has been removed and death no longer hides from mortal eyes. It's there, looking Jon and Luke right in the face. And they are looking back with a very fearless and subversive expression.
Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)
Carlos Bardales

El miércoles en la noche se inauguró la muestra “La morada del Rayo y el Amaru” de Carlos Bardales en la Galería Enlace. Hacía meses que no me asomaba a esta galería ubicada en Pardo y Aliaga; el año pasado creo que iba una vez al mes y este año simplemente dejé de ir. Fue un descuido de mi parte, sin duda, porque había olvidado lo animadas que podían ser las noches sanisidrinas (¿quién dijo que las barranquinas eran las únicas buenas?). 

Con influencias de la escuela cusqueña y el arte colonial, pero sobre todo con una interesante asimilación de corrientes contemporáneas, el arte de Bardales fluye ante nuestros ojos con un atractivo único y sugerente. Al trabajar con pan de oro o láminas de plata, estos cuadros de gran formato son como inmensas joyas que transmiten un mensaje estético a medio camino entre el clasicismo y el postmodernismo. Ciertamente, quedé encantado con la muestra.

En el transcurso de la noche me encontré con varios amigos como Miguel Samamé, José Medina y Carmen Alegre; conversé un rato con Paolo Vigo y me disculpé por no haber ido a su muestra reciente en Sala 58. También hablé brevemente con el gran Roberto Cores, con Julio Garay y con Hugo Salazar (extraordinario artista que expuso en Enlace hace un año; como curiosidad estoy incluyendo una de sus pinturas en este post), me dio mucho gusto verlo (no habíamos coincidido en ninguna muestra desde hacía meses).
Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)
my drawing / mi dibujo

Finalmente, me quedé comentando la nueva temporada de The Walking Dead con mi amigo, el artista Renzo Núñez Melgar Vega, y él me relató los últimos éxitos de la Galería Enlace. Al ser artista de la galería, ‘Reve’ se enteró que hacía poco habían vendido un cuadro de Carlos Cruz Diez a 495,000 dólares. Pensar que un ciudadano limeño (quien por cierto también le había comprado antes un cuadro a mi amigo, aunque por una mínima fracción de la suma mencionada) ha podido gastar esa suma exorbitante en un solo cuadro me dio un poco de dolor de cabeza. El mercado del arte en Lima sin duda está ahora más movido de lo que estaba hace dos décadas, pero aún así, teniendo en cuenta que las obras de Szyszlo, el principal pintor peruano, fluctúan entre 80,000 y 96,000 dólares (y estoy usando como referencia los precios de la misma galería Enlace que tiene un pequeño stock de cuadros de Szyszlo) sigo sin entender cómo alguien como Cruz Diez se ha cotizado tanto (según me enteré, también vendió otros tres o cuatro cuadros ligeramente más caros que los Szyszlo a los que hago referencia). ¿Qué haría la mayoría de la gente con medio millón de dólares? Supongo que comprarse una buena casa, y luego un buen carro, y con lo que les sobre pagar la universidad de sus hijos y punto. En pocas palabras, toda una vida de gastos. Yo, por lo pronto, después de comprarme la casa obviaría el carro y todo lo demás y me dedicaría a adquirir cómics hasta el fin de mis días. ¿Y ustedes?

Originally Published at


Help spread the word, loyal readers! Share this story on social media:

Comment without an Outhouse Account using Facebook

We get it. You don't feel like signing up for an Outhouse account, even though it's FREE and EASY! That's okay. You can comment with your Facebook account below and we'll take care of adding it to the stream above. But you really should consider getting a full Outhouse account, which will allow you to quote posts, choose an avatar and sig, and comment on our forums too. If that sounds good to you, sign up for an Outhouse account by clicking here.

Note: while you are welcome to speak your mind freely on any topic, we do ask that you keep discussion civil between each other. Nasty personal attacks against other commenters is strongly discouraged. Thanks!
Help spread the word, loyal readers! Share this story on social media:

About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


More articles from Arion
The Outhouse is not responsible for any butthurt incurred by reading this website. All original content copyright the author. Banner by Ali Jaffery - he's available for commission!