Statement for the Announcement Card of Recuerdo (I Remember)

Raphael Collazo, 1984


There is a crucial difference between what we call the present and what actually is the present.

Looking back, I see that intimations of my present style flashed forth periodically in my work of previous years. Many times, these isolated paintings seemed to me of no consequence. Actually, they were prophesies, the full realization of which is now on display.

Formerly, my visions were fantasies of a longed-for past; or of huge rooms, when I actually lived in small; or of grandiose scenes, when I lived in squalor, paintings that in essence were an escape from an unsatisfactory and hurtful present: the need to work for a living and paint in my spare time.

With the good fortune of being able to paint full time, all my powers came into play: I was able to live in the present, not escape it, to include it in the kaleidoscope of my subject-matter. Thus, my work became truly contemporary in the sense that Hobbes meant, namely, that if age is what gives value to the work, then it is the present work that is the oldest. It is this cumulative experience that I think is often lacking in the truncated lives we are forced to live today. A work of art alleviates this tortured circumstance.

[Con la buena fortuna de poder pintar a tiempo completo, todas mis potencialidades se pusieron en juego. Pude comenzar a vivir en el presente, no a evadirlo, son más bien a inclurlo en el caleidoscopio de mi temático. Así, pues, mi trabajo se hizo verdaderamente contemporáneo en el sentido que Hobbes significó, esto es, que si es el tiempo lo que le de valor a la obra entonces el trabajo presente es el más valioso por ser el más viejo. Es esta experiencia acumulativa la que, a mi entender, falta con frecuencia en las vidas truncas que nos vemos obligados a llevar en la actualidad. Tan sólo la obra de arte alivia la tortura de estas circunstancias.]


Announcement card, Recuerdo (I Remember): The Paintings of Raphael Collazo, Art Lobby, New York, September 29-December 31, 1984, extended through April 18, 1985, curated by Ernest Acker-Gherardino. In the video produced by Tom Miller, Collazo refers to Emergence as a prophecy of the paintings in this exhibition.