Underwood. Concept and the word
Visual Poetry by Pepe Cáccamo
Under the title Underwood.Concept and the word Pepe Cáccamo launched a collection of half poetic and half sculptural works in the gallery A carón do mar in Cangas do Morrazo, last September 2006.
Both his work and his vital and social commitment are witness of an exceptional poetic attitude which always placed him beyond any poetic and easy path, on the fringes of the most conventional rules of the cultural industry and rebelling against the barriers of the prevailing social conventions.
As to a strictly aesthetic poit of view he is also a creator who takes a stand on the edge of traditional disciplines and genders (prose as poetry, poetry as narration, objects trouvés which are poetry). Little by little, but in a constant way , Pepe Caccámo´s work has grown stronger as an extraordinary expanding universe which has its deep foundation in the galician culture (the works in this exhibition are a proof of these roots) and which discusses openly with the most innovative trends in poetry and arts in our contemporary world.
The exhibition which took place in the hall A caron do mar introduces the plastic creative activity of the poet following that of Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, Meret Oppenheim, Juan Brossa or Angel Ferrant , as a result we have a collection of works which follow the line of visual poetry, povera art and conceptual art.
Pepe Cáccamo´s work is concerned both with the word and the figurative plastic art. We should take into account that poetry and plastic art are defined by their artistic condition , they both dwell in the same universe: the world of art and the one of aesthetics which belong to the same category and thus are authentic, comparative and comparable arts.
The fact that Cáccamo carries out tasks of "poetic" appropriation and manipulation of objects does not only question what they have in common artistically but it also strengthens our own reflexive attitude about representation and reality. In a way these tasks reveal that the imagery causes reactions and complex responses which go beyond their simple formal qualities (vide The power in images by David Freeberg). To be able to contemplate his pieces of art we should take into account what Roland Barthes stated as to a photograph and what responses it might raise. Barthes stated that the way to look at a photograph in depth would be to combine two voices, " the voice of the banal (what everybody sees and knows) and the voice of the unique( so as to impregnate the banal with an emotion which scarcely belongs to me)" This is probably Pepe Cáccamo´s attitude towards his work and also, what is even much more important, the one we should take to be able to complete the meaning of his work and, like in a dissection, examine the object of his art in detail.
There are repeated references to the literary world in his work such as the title Underwood which comes from an avant garde poem by Pedro Salinas; we should also mention Galician poets as Eduardo Pondal and Manuel Antonio. Amongst Cáccamo´s work we may highlight O telégrafo de Manuel Antonio (Manuel Antonio´s telegraph) which is an old typewriter in whose roller we can read fragments of the avant garde galician poet in collage with other pieces of an english technical book which is a guide for seafarers; here we have a brilliant intertextual game which has a very precise visual presence. Another outstanding work inspired in the poetic world is Cóncova furoca (Concave hollow) in which a 007 agent shoots a poem by Eduardo Pondal where you can read the words of the title which come from a verse by the author of Himno Galego( Galician Himn).
O proceso (The process) is a creative activity with clearly literary references, it belongs to a series the author calls "open books". It is a book which has a K on the top left angle, a clear allusion to Kafka.
There are also constant references to the written world in his work such as Impresora a cor, a wooden wedge used to chock the boats in the beaches where we can perceive clearly the connection with povera art and objects trouvés of the surrealist art. The same happens in the references to writing, in Pasantía(Private lesson), a small children´s blackboard which has on it pieces of a tape measure and remains of a sharpened pencil. In this case it achieves an evocative world, full of hints, with childhood as a catalyst.
The poet works in a playful and reflective way , he enjoys both the "waste art" and its ironic effect. He interpretes and incorporates natural objects, objects which have been found and transformed and are turned into vehicles for pure poetic communication.
Carlos L. Bernárdez
[Traducció de Marta Uberos]