O Ser, Como Meta

Bruno Kurru

26/May/2012 – 23/Jun/2012

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    Paula Braga

    Bruno Kurru's painting is inside another painting. Each of them consisting of several paintings. Things open into smaller interiors that paradoxically refer back to the whole. Instead of showing details, each part expands. We are stuck in this spiral labyrinth, within which the act of looking closely hurls one back to vastness. The whole is within the part, in an inversion of rationality, sending us reeling into the incomprehensible. In one of the paintings, the universe emerges from a hole in the asphalt that has been opened up by a brushstroke. The body that paints the hole is repeated on a smaller scale on the edge of the abyss, a recurrent replication strategy in these paintings, in the reflection of a mirror, or in a self that is disjoined from the body and hollows it out. The same scene is sometimes painted twice, containing a miniature version within itself. Knot in thought, like the knot in thinking about existing. Or, as written on one of the paintings, subtitled like a film, "how can one reach this state of self-understanding?".

    Why do I see the dark universe with bright spots when I close my eyes? If there is a God, is it inside or outside of me? Is there a bodily organ for consciousness? In what does a living body differ from a dead body? Where is the material of life?

    In the early 20th century, a pseudo-scientific theory suggested that the soul weighed 21 grams. This value was the average difference, obtained from a series of measurements, between the mass of a living body and of such body immediately after the certification of death. Life-material therefore would be very light, weighing more or less the same as four sheets of plain paper. I look at Bruno Kurru's paintings and see collages, imitations of paper, the scribbled whiteness of three or four small rectangles overlapped to form a whole, as if the painted surface, taking away the weight of the canvas and frame, weighed 21 grams, as if the act of painting resulted in the weight of life.

    Kurru continues his existential investigations adding to the repertoire of images - along with decorated papers, pieces of bodies, mirrors and labyrinths, and references to Eastern philosophies - signs of our connection to the virtual world. The structure holding together the compositions then acquires transparent layers, represented by the gray and white checkerboard used by Photoshop, and floating error-message windows. Thus, his paintings include humanity's most recent metaphysical trend, our networked life in connection with the virtual world: “The network pertains to metaphysical thought. At the same time, it apprehends the human body hic et nunc and connects this body to the great body of the world: it is a bio-meta-physical notion."(1)

    In day-to-day life, the locus that the cybernetic network represents is something of a mysterious cosmos, vast and inaccessible heavens to which we direct our messages, like prayers, and hope to get a response from them. His figures are looking up to the heavens and at a computer screen. They are searching for the place of life, of consciousness, within the body that contains the universe too. “Apply consciouness.exe”.

    Who asks the existential questions? The figures painted by Kurru or those viewing these paintings? If every painting has another painting in it, perhaps the viewer is in yet another painting that is bigger again. And so on.

    Perhaps understanding is the final moment.


    (1) Anne Cauquelin, Concept pour un passage, in Quaderni, n. 3, “Images et imaginaires des réseaux”, p. 31-40, Winter 1987-88. CREDAP, Université de Paris-IX Dauphine.

    Critical essay