• 2nd text on H201415M - Ausscharre des z, Berlin 2015
  • H201415M - Ausscharre des z, Berlin 2015
  • Hilarion Manero from an old manuscript found on the bank of the River Panke
  • Prelude to the exhibition 'What is a psychodramatic artist?', Berlin 2012
  • On Psychochromism

  • 2nd text on H201415M – Ausscharre des z

    Odin shall be our Virgil, and this time shall he guide us to two different Eras. His songstress: Pandora; for in the name of one among his faces' manifold – his goodbrother Zeus’s – has she sprung. With her, the all- gifted one, Mankind’s first Golden Age has been ended, an age of living life in amity with the Gods, an age of naïvete and tedium. Too beautiful was she, and he too much a human for a mere beast or Titan – for Epimetheus, the Fire Bringer’s after-thinking brother, to not succumb to her zests.
    Courage then! Odin is guiding us, in the guise of an infant gazing into two spaces. On three islands, inside a forest, that makes nine out of five, illuminated by a fountain. The trees making up the forest alongside a rivulet are consecrated to the Tree Spirits, progeny of History’s first patricide. Inside this space there, the Dryads, those whimsically playful creatures, in unison with H201515M, are bringing to bear the alchemical principle „As above, so below“. But really it is much too dark to trouble this nocturnal encampment much.

    A blue curtain – „Neptune watching“ – connects both spaces and leads us onto two stages of the Book of Death. The comprehensive book the essayist is working on since three years consists of chapters, which in turn present one to three of his Dichtungsgraphien: The Roman Nox is still resting; why does she wait before Pluto’s Gates? Does Night knock on Hades’s Gate, as Manero suggests with the title he gives: Nox at the Doors of Plutonium? Perhaps she is no longer welcome, was banned, or more likely still, was driven from our time by a glistening light. Awaiting asylum. The night is dusk and dawn alike, structurally impossible therefore what lies in between.

    The images do not answer our questions, and why should they? Art, neither bullhorn nor pure medium, offers the advantage to be inhabitable by the subject. Uncontrollable, yet under her creators’ aegis. Being, in our case, H201415M. This may make it clearer to us that proscenia serve the staging of the Ephemeral and that disillusionment does not necessarily rob us of the Magic, but rather makes us admire the ways in which those very conditions are presented. For this is what our former artist does, and he is not ill-advised at all to visualize some of his own demons.

    Through this exhibition, potentially to be understood as one coherent narrative, Manero grants us insight into his own cosmogony and invites us to a quest. Yet, the instruments we possess for such a quest appear inadequate. Inadequate, but free of any care, for they are happy if they succeed in creating wealth.
    This is also what makes the works of this unsolicited negator readable in different directions. Formally, content-wise, through association. Art-historically, what we are seeing are operatic stagings which, simultaneously taking on a strongly media-reflexive stance, disclose their own production conditions as well as their progression. Which is a modernist trait. With his biomorphisms, he may well allude to Surrealism. The symbolist quality of his mythological stagings, however, makes us seek out classical Bildung. Education not as an end in itself, but cognizant of the fact that those stories we are telling are but representations of a Before and After in relation to ourselves. What then keeps us going on? It is that we are carried, captivatingly and sensually, by his pathos-driven eloquence. Provisions for the journey.

    The situation is such that Odin is now calling again, and Manero is declaring Odin to not only be the Norse God-Father, but also Future’s Child: from him derive the gifts of the Spirit. All human skills that owe more to prudence and artifice than to the body’s force, spring from his grace and his example. From this perspective, the mighty eyebeam from the Past becomes a plea for mercy from the Future, and it is easy to comprehend that this exhibition aspires to string together spherical oppositions. An essentialist's miracle play is consubstantial to ghost stories for the very grown-up.

    Julian Malte Schindele

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    With Ausscharre des z, Hilarion Manero is taking on yet another name. H201415M. Likewise, he has decided to cast off the insignia of the artist, henceforth dubbing himself "essayist", a friend of the open form and experimentation. His new activity will be Dichtungsgraphie.

    This is reminiscent of the first exhibition that was accompanied by Bublitz, "What is a psychochromatic artist?" at Sprechsaal, located in Berlin-Mitte's Marienstraße. While this served as a retrospective on Manero's painterly oeuvre produced over recent years in isolation, with Ausscharre z we now witness the integration of some of these paintings into a larger work context as well as two or three islands from the Book of Death.

    The islands are the refuges of the Gods, in his own words: "They go onto the islands to sojourn there". For otherwise, they would be everywhere - whereas I prefer to imagine them as symbolically centered psychic energies accompanying us, looking out for us, embodying potentials. For H201415M they are theatrical plays. Roles embodying personifications of our own comportment as human beings. The spheres: Gods, unaging as are eyes.

    Before Chronos, the Oceanid Clymene is exposed to Uranus's whims, Nox, in the second Dichtungsgraphie, is dwelling on the threshold of Plutonium's gates. Both protogenoi are resting inside the blackness of a landscape. Surrounded by rocks who are observers. Through the presentation, the familiar is rendered strange and thus flees the possible gaze. Might still touch because of that. This (Hilarion Manero insists) is by no means about the Uncanny.

    Quite the contrary, it is about the Magical. And the Possible.

    This is why the works on view may be described as moralist pieces. Fortunately, this would be too reductive, and shall therefore remain undetermined. For the mentioned figures would encounter radiant objects: "We have to decide ourselves". Only obliquely mentioned in this exhibition, Power serves as the essayist's central point of reference. How all is exercising power.

    Conscious, unconscious, without consciousness. H201415M's prime attachment figure these days: Charlie Chaplin.

    The second complex forms an erotic ensemble: Representing the female principle inside the exhibition, a group of dryads has gathered by a creek.

    Ausscharre des z consists of the reflections of a mythically inclined contemporary, bound together in two and a half acts. The general topic is the historical involvement of our time - and the way in which we man it.

    Julian Malte Schindele

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    Hilarion Manero from an old manuscript found on the banks of the River Panke (...)

    It was in Argentina where he fell into our world. He lay there in our cradle, soft and white. His eyelids clung to his brows allowing him to see everything, always. Soothsayers and prophets gathered for his birth. They came from Harlem, Peking, Paris, and from deepest reddest Wedding to praise his auspicious advent. They promised to guide him to greater things than he could ever have expected. They guided him along paths inaccessible to us here. For us, dear reader, Hilarion Manero's presence first reappears from his nonage in the Year of Irrationality, 1977.

    David Bowie, James Brown and two men by the name of Rembrandt and Jan van Eyck accompany him every step of the way. He makes it possible for us to love these dark sailors. If Hilarion is a fan he blows tumultuous and tempestuous through his life. Above and below, fore and aft. No flags are waved, shelter shunned. Since that year only the incandescent fruits of his labours flourish.

    As he arrived in New York he lay as performance. Terrifying is his power as poet, fear is for others, he howls. Terror is something others must now accept. His loves do not wilt, not for a second. Only when moments in time become shorter, when time tugs and strains itself, then and only then can he receive that for which there is not enough space. Grand and white and silver, replete, rests the moon across from him. It must wait, the moon. Brave and shy he stands before the abyss of possibility and steps with eyes open toward the rugged mound of the cumulative past. All this just to remind himself that moonlight brings out the best in him. The maquillage beamed.

    It was 1977, Hilarion was standing in the rain in his brown leather jacket on the corner of Bleeker/MacDougal when he met Fred Neil, a dolphin loving rocker. The depth of their gaze as they caught eyes made the starkly incomplete nature of their lives clear to them. Insufficiently disappointed? Neither Fred nor Hilarion see the preconditions of this disappointment. Being high is creatively understood to be a game and source of ripe experience but it proves to be The Road to Hell. After that meeting they both drift in and out of this intoxicant limbo. They both learn what it is to be high, without the tinsel. Whatever! Shame is for others; for they both know the opposite of cynicism. If indeed that meeting on Bleeker/MacDougal was what started it all we will never know. It was to be the opposite of cynicism which was then cast into the new moulds their beings were to emerge from. Nothing will ever be the same for Fred and Hilarion after this meeting. Whilst for the cynic everything always remains the same, for Hilarion everything is not equally as interesting, everything is not possible, everything is not immediately present nor is everything equally as essential. Painting is the art with which superficial essences can be grafted away. The surface is notaltogether gone however, because colour, exempli gratia, is brushed onto canvas. The canvas has simply become denser. Painting is canvas and paint and oil and...Hilarion. Absent are merely opposed colours, the material and, of course, possibility. The world needs worlds to understand this. Hilarion understood it and moved on.

    Bored of moustaches and testicles in tight jeans he jumped on a raft, navigating the currents he boldly traversed the globe. At the bottom of the world he asks an old Taoist to explain what this ‘wanna-fly-higher’ and ‘striving-to-strive’ business is all about. This is what people do, all the time, and Hilarion was puzzled. Why if they call themselves cool, are they so ridden with anguish and self-importantly serious? The little man explained that fads are the building material man uses to compensate for his inadequacies. “If one does not know how to paint a woman’s lips, he then builds a skyscraper so others can look up to him and see his face in the clouds.” This explanation troubled Hilarion and he carried on his journey on the raft. Hilarion spends the following years learning. On solitary islands and among trees, he vegetates.

    On the back of a dragonfly and between the cracks on a leather-bound chair, he leads a flurry of personalities and harlequins along behind him. One of the female harlequins had a club foot and told him that she was once painted by a Spaniard. A master of his trade, this José, she says. She wore a red jumper (sansculottes) in the painting and posed with her walking stick cheekily slung over her left shoulder. At the time, she had laughed out loud as it must have appeared to the voyeur as if she was making fun of her disability. She makes it clear that this was not the case. She was in fact truly happy. Without the club-foot she would never have become a subject, she mused. Hilarion had been ambivalent to art all his life. Art, he once remarked, is what happens when we are not silent. He must have always been an artist, he was never silent.

    As Hilarion turned 40, he found himself meandering through a flea market on the Seine in snide and snobbish has-been Paris. There he met a street sweeper from Prague who claimed he was actually a writer. Hilarion knew that dreams are not the same thing as writing but he wanted to listen to this man. Yet as Hilarion asked him for the source of his material or for the subject of his writing, the man did not answer. Instead, the man took Hilarion’s arm, leapt onto the railings of the esplanade and began to dance. A simple foxtrot, then a jive, followed by a 30 second handstand. He then leaped with much aplomb onto Hilarion’s head. All the while singing, to the tune of the Marseillaise, “From hands to head, I have turned, as you can see, from the hands to the feet, albeit on a head, sometimes the feet on which you stand are merely on the head of another”. He then whistled for a half an hour and leapt off the railing, plunging out of sight.

    After many years of wandering, the empty plateaus Hilarion had endured in the past now flourished. He began to smile. He still coughed a little. He was still in good condition though. While making this diagnosis he happened to have just left the German-Polish border behind him and was invited tojoin a friendly captain on a barge stealing through the Spreewald. The captain wished to punt his way to Spandau, a small horrid industrial village by Berlin. Hilarion took the opportunity by the balls and delighted in the thought of the journey that lay ahead. He had been told that once Germans had placed their work to one side they were exceedingly social animals. It appeared to be true.

    The bargeman was the soundtrack to his journey. He told him about things that had happened and the extraordinary things that would happen in that part of the world. He told him that he had once worked in tourism, but then the tourism board became aware of his penchant for Schnapps and dive bars and he was let go. Now he pilots freight through all manner of regions. All his tales carried a note of lament. “The kindergartens are all closed so nobody is having children anymore. People don’t know how to work with their hands so they don’t know the meaning of job satisfaction anymore. State subsidised, they are subsumed into a fiction and with the real realised they slide into organised boredom. As they arrived at Cottbuser Tor the man at the helm began to repeat himself. He once again opined about piloting freight and spoke of the regions he travelled through. That was the reason he only delivered his freight in Germany. At that moment, beneath Cottbuss Bridge, Hilarion grabbed the same knapsack which had been presented to him by an Argentinean marine officer on the eastern Falklands, and dived into the divinely sobering waters of the Teltow Canal. He swam for his life, and moved so swiftly through the water that it could not breach his satchel. He is a strong swimmer. In Santa Barbara, he attended a crash course in speed swimming for sea creatures. Because of this he escaped the Brandenburg barbarians in no time. With seven sea miles, not to mention a few kilos weight, lost behind him, Hilarion reached the city district which gave its name to the Anglophone marriage ceremony, he reached Wedding. (...)

    Lars Dreiucker, Berlin 2012

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    Prelude to the exhibition 'What is a psychochromatic artist', Berlin 2012

    "Looking at the paintings and biography too,
    we can’t find any trace of an authentic naive
    artist in Hilarion Manero "

    Erich-Bödeker-Society for Naive Art e.V.

    The exhibition Hilarion Manero. "What is a psychochromatic artist?" brings together the biggest collection of this eclectic artist’s work to date. The task of pigeonholing his work and the onus to love it will be left to you.

    We begin this catalogue with the difficult, and not entirely welcome, attempt to categorise Manero’s work. We know that Hilarion Manero is not an „authentic naïve artist“, there is simply no such thing. Despite this, the concept would appear to be quite useful, at least in the sense introduced by the critic Wilhelm Uhde in the 1920s. Manero is, after all, an autodidact. When Uhde describes the group of naïve artists around Henri Rousseau, Camille Bombois, and André Bauchant as 'painters of the sacred heart' one hastens to add: "I think Hilarion has a heart like that too".

    The artist's deep belief in our world is demonstrated in the immediacy and earnestness of his engagement with ancient and universal themes as found in the allegories and myths of Christianity, Classical Greece, and Nordic folklore. The cynic has lost touch with these sources, the other, the naïve artist, can take himself seriously and enrich his world with these stories. This leitmotif dances throughout Manero's work as these subjective mythologies mingle in his mind and spill-out onto his canvasses. It is here they come alive and make claims for their reality.

    "Thanks to the constantly effective miracle assumed by myth, the waking day of a people who are stimulated by myth, as the ancient Greeks were, does indeed resemble dream more than it does the day of a thinker whose mind has been sobered by science. If, one day, any tree may speak as a nymph, or if a god can carry off virgins in the guise of a bull, if the goddess Athene herself is suddenly seen riding on a beautiful chariot in the company of Pisistratus through the market-places of Athens - and that was what the honest Athenian believed - then anything is possible at any time, as it is in dream, and the whole of nature cavorts around men as if it were just a masquerade of the 3 gods who are merely having fun by deceiving men in every shape and form."

    (Friedrich Nietzsche – On Truth and Lies in the Nonmoral Sense, 1873)

    Thank you to one and all who worked on this exceptional catalogue and the exhibition „What is a psychochromatic artist?“. In particular we would like to thank Ronald Thoden whose generosity and support made this exhibition and catalogue possible.

    Julian Malte Schindele & Lars Dreiucker

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    Psychochromism (Greek ψυχή, "breath; soul; mind", & χρώμα, "colour"): aesthetic theory of the psycho-emotional effects of colour as well as the act of eliciting feelings using colour in particular with so-called "psychochromatic painting". A pioneer of psychochromatic painting, Hilarion Manero (b. 1957, Argentina) creates tense colour harmonies combining local coloursand tone curving with chiaroscuro (light-dark) effects.

    Whereas psychology attempts to determine the complex psycho-emotional effects and feeling- values of colour which are dependent upon individual, cultural (↑colour symbolism), and contextual factors (to date this area has been insufficiently researched). Psychochromism, on the other hand, looks at how a colour’s characteristics are expressed and the combinations and harmonies thereof. Psychochromatic theory is related to traditional aesthetics and concerns itself with the psycho- emotional effects of colour in the fine arts. Of primary interest is the individual, partly transcendental, reception of ↑colouring in the observer’s emotional awareness. Of consummate relevance would be Kandinsky’s (1866-1944) remarks in the 20 th Century that colour had the power to induce an “inner resonance”. Significant too is the analogy of colours and tones as found in the theories of Aristotle (384 -322 BCE.), G. Zarlino (1570-1590) and I. Newton (1643-1727).

    Psychochromatic painting, as practised by Manero, attempts to overcome the traditional dichotomy between form and colour (disegno and colore) as defined by G. Vasari (1511-1574). For Manero et al, the effects of colour can only be defined in the reciprocal interaction between the form and the sujet e.g. Sujets often connect clear colours with soft sfumato.

    The playful-naïve manner in which psychochromatic painting incorporates cosmological considerations has its root in traditional colour theories where thinkers such as L.B. Alberti (1404- 1472) et. al, with a nod to the anciens, associated the primary colours (veri colori) with the four elements.

    Leading representatives of psychochromatic theory, drawing inspiration from Goethe‘s (*1749- 1832) views on the subject, argue for an incessant struggle between light and darkness which is manifest in the specific characteristics of individual colours. Psychochromatic painting thus draws attention to the the antagonism between light and darkness as a metaphor for clarity and its antonym. L.M.T.

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