Santiago Cucullu – The Black Car And The Green Waters Of Lethe


With the exhibition “The Black Car And The Green Waters Of Lethe", the Loock Galerie presents the first solo exhibition of the American artist, Santiago Cucullu, in Germany. The exhibition combines wall drawings, watercolours, sculpture and lithographs.

“Take something, change it and make something new."

These are the words Cucullu uses to describe his basic working style which is expressed in the most varied forms of artistic creativity. The artist has specially created the 7 x 18 m wall drawing "The Black Car And The Green Waters Of Lethe" for the exhibition, which takes up the entire side wall of the Loock Galerie. To do this, a contact paper is placed directly onto the wall, out of which the drawings are then cut. These complex wall collages combine a huge wealth of pictures. One must take the time to disassemble this chaos and, in some places, it even seems to dissolve into visual abstraction. The picture fragments come from the widest possible range of sources; Cucullu freely helps himself to historical figures and events, mixes them with pictures of his own experience, places high culture beside pop culture, or moves from mythology to the real world. By separating these images from their original context, placing them beside one another and mixing them, a new context is created. These contexts remain open enough, allowing the viewer to approach and observe the situation on the basis of his own experiences.

The exhibition title is itself a word collage made up of fragments of the poems “Getting There" by Sylvia Plath and “Spleen" by Charles Baudelaire. Cucullu was inspired by the term “Lethe", the name of a river in Hades in Greek mythology. It was said that one’s memories would disappear if one drank its water. But Lethe is also the name of some real rivers, for example in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Alaska, or in Galicia, Spain. In the work “The Black Car And The Green Waters Of Lethe", pictures of these rivers are combined with Albrecht Duerer’s engravings for Dante’s Divine Comedy, together with photographs which Cucullu took himself, portraits of his home, and stills from the horror film, "The Car" (1977), by Elliot Silverstein.



September 6 - October 12, 2008