“A ghost is an absent being amidst present beings.” 
(René Daumal, “The 'Pataphysics of ghosts")

    Andy Warhol 'Patafix is the imaginary solution to a nonexistent problem: Warhol as pataphysician. A touch-adherent, commercial object of common use, that helps us to identify previous and varied comments on Warhol, gluing up contradictory meanings and connotations and making him dive into the deep seas of pataphysical relations.

    Identified as an imaginary construction built by himself, Warhol's life has been compared, for its theatrical features, with the precursors of the Parisian avant-garde: Artaud and Alfred Jarry (originator of 'pataphysics).

    He has been repeatedly accused of being a magician, priest and alchemist, having conjured the irreversible spell of mechanical reproduction, making art images indistinguishable from the world, displaying a mental dimension of the work of art and granting an unprecedented value to everyday shapes around us. Converting the banal into art certainly reflects glints of essential alchemical wisdom.

    He has been compared several times with Duchamp, for incorporating into his work the sense of temporality of objects as subjects (and vice versa), for the provocation implied in the irony of mechanical reproduction and for a free and liberating sense of humor. As Duchamp, and like Benjamin Buchloh stated, "Warhol embodies the paradox of modern art." Thus, we find here the pataphysical coexistence of contradictory elements such as: art/market, idea/matter, non-artist/the-best-artist, being/non-being. Referring to the last, it is said that Warhol, after his assassination attempt, has been dead for few minutes on the operation table: dead and alive at the same time.

"I like Warhol's spirit ... he's not just a painter or a filmmaker..."
 (Duchamp to a reporter)

    The situationist and pataphysician Jean Baudrilliard, called Warhol and his work a "machine" that unleashes the only possible alternative left for the state of art in the 20th century: to suppress the art and transform the earnings into a kind of art itself at a point of no return. To cancel art to see beyond: an imaginary solution. Warhol called himself a "recording machine", observing and registering the world from a safer (technical) distance, attitude that seems to be the product of an alien complex: "I come from another planet," Warhol said, "I am separated from my time, just like rockets or television." Warhol looks at the world from a third place, as a voyeur and visionary.

"I want to be a machine" (from Andy Warhol's diaries)

    The intimate relationship with his photo camera is a symptom of a deep and constant problem in Warhol's work and perhaps in history of mankind: to exorcise the passing of time. During his stay in Madrid in 83', in his role as alien-flaneur, he did not write pages into his diary. He photographed and was photographed.At this time, the catharsis of post-Franquist era in Spain was manifested by the young art and cultural underground scene in Madrid, in all facets of music, film, literature, fashion and particularly in photography: La Movida, aesthetically influenced by movements such as Dada and the Surrealism and by the scenes of New Wave and Post-Punk. Warhol descends on this microcosm as an idealised icon and a direct reference to the New Yorker 60’s scene that had inspired them so much in their lifestyle.

                            "In the chronicles of Warhol in Madrid, about which there is not a single line in the artist’s diaries, he awarded the POP diploma to zombies and pegamoides (stickoids), which was immortalized with great skill and success by Gorka de Duo in his photographs." (Kosme de Barañano, El Mundo)

    In this context, the meeting with the artist Gorka de Duo, who is not only a pioneer photographer of the aesthetics that immortalised La Movida (in its most iconic images) but also who introduced the concepts of Fluxus and the Situationists into an everyday practice, left the indelible mark of a unique and transcendent photographic document for the history of art: a sort of will, like an archaeological piece, that allows us to see Warhol under a different light and deploying new shades. During the days they shared, De Duo and Warhol developed a non-linguistic relationship, sustained only on the syntax of the directionality of their camera lenses. The photographic complicity and telepathic communication during this meeting unfolded an unsurpassed aura of visionary and pataphysical character.

    The result is evident in the complex and mesmerizing portrait Pop Shot, where De Duo brings into this relationship with Warhol (who stares at the camera) his own work and the viewer. A dialectic composition that makes us look inside the work (the painted revolver is pointing at Warhol’s head), and out again by the centripetal force of Warhol’s petrified eyes, staring at us like from outer space. This work is a perfect example of the photographic oddities (Raritäten) that constitute Muses Maschine gallery’s secret treasure. Archaeological pieces are rescued from De Duo’s archive to be exhibited for the first time.

Complying a powerful work, Gorka de Duo’s portrait series Andy Warhol ‘Patafix expands as an irradiating hologram, makes us accomplices, along with Warhol, of a timeless space. A capsule where he and his work are interspersed gaining another light and another life. This quality, of bending time at will, even after death makes Warhol fulfill a basic requirement in his final consecration as pataphysician ...

"... So what?" (From Andy Warhol's diaries)

Pablo Denegri


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