Luiz D'Orey: Rumor
Curated by Flavia Tamoyo
September 27 - October 19, 2019
By JONATHAN GOODMAN, October 2019
An artist from Brazil in his mid-twenties, Luiz D’Orey graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2016. “Rumor,” his show was up in Chelsea, consisted of works taken from the series called “Cascade.” The works are collages of laser prints and spray paint paper, and refer to information easily taken from the Internet and social media. The images, consisting of tiny squares or colored image bits, pay particular attention to the way rumor passes through the auspices of social conduits. In a way, then, this is an abstract representation of an abstract technological process with genuine political affinities and implications. Amazingly, its imagery, so closely tied to and formed by technologies outside itself, reads as a very beautiful surface, often red and black. Small black letters on white squares linked to each other cover red-and-yellow vertical stripes on the work Cascade #23, providing a dense and complex surface that looks all the world like a cyber-graphic palimpsest--an image of the 21st century with roots going back to medieval times. At the same time, the images duplicates the visual noise seen on television.
I don’t think that D’Orey intended, or even wanted, to create a medieval manuscript in this show. But the minute detail argues for a minimal image, something we might associate with an antiquated manuscript, even if the entire composition is middle-sized. The idea works as a model of political data made monumental--tiny increments of knowledge build into a perception and an attitude, based on rumor, that profoundly influences the way we process our opinions. Amazingly, D’Orey makes very striking art out of analyzable information, in ways that don’t retrieve that information so much as rework it in visual terms. One has the sense that the art consists of bytes--minute amounts of knowledge--that are orchestrated into a mosaic with an extraordinarily beautiful surface. So the image, derived from an abstract, external process exemplifies that process to an extreme degree. One can only assume that the connection between the two kinds of representation--visual and social--is as tightly claimed as it is in this art. Perhaps the feeling that larger social organizations are forming this work is correct; but what we see does not reflect the influence. Instead, we see surfaces crowded with tiny images that reflect language and abstraction.
Cascade #22 (2019) reflects a composition halved horizontally; the top half consists of a light colored mélange of short horizontal forms in white, made more complicated by an overlay of words. The bottom half indicates similar forms, but they are black and play over a ground of thick red and thin white vertical stripes, meant to portray the glitches occurring in computer imagery. Social media are not indicated here or elsewhere, but they are key to D’Orey’s art. We can ask, How can the concept of rumor be visually represented? Namely, by a welter of conflicting imagery that is at once anarchic and highly formalized--this describes exactly what happens in social media, powerful because of its snap judgment and the seemingly objectively weighted expression of opinion. This is driven by the unverifiable events that fuel rumors. D’Orey’s art captures this mass of information and the consequent biases of its politicized expression extremely well.
In the work Cascade #20 (2019), we can see how the laser prints take over most of the compositional field, forming a large inchoate mass over a reddish, black ground that seems to have been generated as a computer output. The black-and-white prints connect letters that make no sense, so that massive upheaval of sense, literary and visual, occurs as an overload of detail for the senses. Isn’t this what happens, on both an informational and social level, in social media? Thus the show is truly a draft, on a tight and complicated imagistic platorm, of what occurs in social media. It is strange to think of so complete a computer-driven exchange as being the basis of such sophisticated art as Luiz’s, but that is what happens. In Cascade #33 (2019), the rumor-driven complexities of D’Orey’s show are seen as a black mass, with openings allowing bits of red and yellow to come through to the viewer; the black rectangle is framed on three sides (except the bottom) by thick bezels made of small rectangles--red and yellow, with a few blue and white ones. While there is no theme that can be ascribed to the patterns we see--how can the particulars of a rumor be described visually?--at the same time we can enjoy the overall pattern of language imposed as a visual field rather than being understood as literary alone. (This happens in the short video on view, with its layers of moving letters.) Somehow we can see the unseeable in this show, which offers an image-oriented construction of social reality. What would have thought this possible? But in “Rumor,” the conceit is not only possible, it works. WM
Jonathan Goodman is a writer in New York who has written for Artcritical, Artery and the Brooklyn Rail among other publications.
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