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NEW YORK, NY (March 2nd, 2013) Last Rites Gallery presentsARSOBSCURA: Terror y Miseria, a solo artist exhibitionofworksbyArgentinianartistSantiagoCaruso.

. This will be Caruso's first exhibition at the gallery and will include paintings from three series: "Superstition and Inquisition", "Revealers, Prophets & Liars" and "Profound ShadowFromthePast"thathaveneverbeforebeenexhibitedintheUnitedStates. Caruso's works areof a time and place of both thepastandpresentaworldnotunlike our own where the physical embodiment of demons and hellions roamthe earthand overturnthereligious,commonplaceandbasictenetsofsocietyforaworldoverrunwith magic,terrors,witchesandotherbeasts.Caruso'spoetic,macabre,yetforetellingworld is laden with mythological symbols and relative imagery, illuminating the otherside of common axioms stressed by society and religion that harness culture and, theoretically, preserveandsustain both mankindandafunctioningcivilization.Perhaps Caruso is shedding light on the demons that, although appear to be suppressed by humanityanditstenets,stillexistandinevitablyrunrampantinmankind. Caruso's artistic prowess andcontentareinfluencedbythewritingsofEdgarAllanPoe, Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Schwob, German Expressionism cinema as well as the artwork of Odilon Redon, Frantisek Kupka, Gustave Moreau, Max Klinger, James Ensor and Mikhail Vrubel. The gothic narratives present in ARSOBSCURA:Terrory Miseria are executed uniquely in the artist's manipulation of watercolor, ink, tempera and thephysicalscratchingofthemedium,whicheffectivelystrengthenstheforeboding andmorbidnatureofhisworks. >>PRESSRELEASE>>ONLINEVIEW "Thisgalleryofhorrorarchetypesorphantasmagoriestocome,proposesapilgrimage underthegazeofarchaicdeities:theviewermustdealwithfalseprophets,demons andhungryghosts,attendtodarkaquelarres,bearingtheerosionofTime. EverythingisametaphorofmansubjectedtotheforcesofNatureandSuperstition, motheroftheignoranceandfear.However,itisalsotheartist'sintention torevindicatemiserables,segregatedbythehigherpowers,who asseniledemiurgesthateventuallyrecovertheirwillandintellect, maytransformtheworldforever withredeemingordamninggesture." S.C.


LastRitesGallery:Inyourearlyyears,whatfirstinspiredyoutopursuelifeasanartist? Santiago Caruso: I would liketo know the exact momentwhensomebodybecomesan artist. That would begreat for abiographer. I don't know. I'm justconsciousthatIama profound observer of all, mostly people: their gestures, their voices,their shapes. I've been always interested in the human question of gestures as a reflection of internal emotions. Cartoons, comics and caricatures were my first influences. I was always imitating people, acting or talking as others. A jokerchild.Also,music hasalwaysbeen a constant stimulus forme.Religionandtheheroic ideaofthesaintsandmartyrscould be an origin for me to see the life as an artist as well. This can lead you toloneliness andmelancholy,whicharetwopowerfulforcesthatcandriveyoutocreateart. LastRitesGallery:Whoand/orwhatareyourcreativeinfluences? Santiago Caruso: Decadentism, symbolism and romanticism in painting and literature. Also, the tenebrism of Jusepe de Ribera, the language of Hieronymus Bosch, Max Klinger,WilliamBlakeandOddNerdrum. LastRitesGallery:Whatfirstledyoutotheworldofthedarkandmacabre? Santiago Caruso:YoucanblameEdgarAllanPoe forthatandformanyotherthings.He is guilty of all. IreadhimwhenIwas12maybetoolate, maybe tooearlybutheputme onthefantasticpathtoforever,withhisuniqueconceptoftragedy,mysteryandpoetry. Charles Baudelaire is the source of the evil as a main theme inmyartwork.Heledme to Rimbaud, Lautreamont and many others. So, I really enjoy that position between gothic romanticism and surrealism, whichis the symbolism: strange mixtureofpoetry, the macabre redeemed bybrushstrokes of a luminous sensibility, anda mythical view of the world on the search of higher powers condemning the ones who submit us into stupidityanddecadence. Last Rites Gallery: You were born and currently reside in Argentina. How doyou see yourupbringingandsurroundingsaffectingyourartwork? Santiago Caruso: Since we are in this unjust world, this kind of jail that human selfishness created here, you must deal with many painful things. I do not believe in prebirth merits that allow you tobe born in a place corresponding to your virtue. That idea is the one that lets you be comfortable with the advantages you have, and to be blind at the inequality of the ones without rights. Argentina has a constitution based on the United States.Wehavepublichospitalsandpublic educationincludinguniversities and including immigrants sincethe 19th century. We have had a terrible 20th century, with many violent and dictatorial illegal governments, supported by the imperialism of the countries of the first world. Now, since the hole of 2001 createdby theemptyingof corrupted functionaries and wrong economic policies,whobrokethecountryintwo,we have a government which has started to break the inequality of everyone who was in misery. I come from a generation raised in the 80's and part of the 90's, under the neoliberalism who have eaten all the content of the politicalmatters,andnowIseethat the political discussion is in the air after a decade or more of noninterestfrommypart and so many others. Thereis so much to do from now tothefuture, butthiscountryis better thanit ever was. It is abeautiful land, full of culturesbecauseoftheimmigration, astheU.S.,atthefirstpartofthelastcentury. Well, I am Caruso, I come from an Italian familymixedwithaSpanishone.Thepeople here are fantastic, so generous and warm. The most important thing here, is that it doesnt matter where you were born, you can study if you try hard to get out from poverty.

Last Rites Gallery: What type of reception do you find your work garnering in your hometown?AndinLatinAmericaingeneral? Santiago Caruso: Quilmes, is a big city, 30 minutes fromthecapitalcityofthecountry, Buenos Aires. In myhometown,myartworkisknownbysomeprofessorsat theschool of arts I previously attendedand three bookstores carry my illustrated books(laughs).I mean to say that Iam not afamous person here. I am a painter and I don'thearmany people talking about who his favorite painter is. My artworkiswell knownbyillustrators, comic artists and some important visual artists. The public is there at any event, at exhibitions, book's presentationsorspeeches,etc.Publishersrespectmyworksowell. On the other hand,galleries from here have looked to theother way every time Itry to make contact. The conceptof arthere, is stuck in the 60'swiththeworstideaofart,in my opinion. Towards a figurative and archaic artwork as I make, local gallerists have their eyelids closed. The illustrated books I made with Libros del Zorro Rojo,such as "The Dunwich Horror", "The Bloody Countess" and "The monk and the hangman's daughter", have garnered a large quantity of followers of my work throughout Latin America. Now, I will return to Colombia for the International Illustration Congress in Bogota,invitedbyotherartistsoverthere,aswearelinked throughtheart.Thosebooks have been translatedtoPortuguese,RussianandCzech,sothelinkstoothercountries are larger now.Internetandsocialnetworksarethe bestway tointroduceyourimageto the world. Publishers from Japanhavecontactedmeforaninterviewtobefeaturedina magazine of illustration and tobe part of an art book. Itseemsthattoworkhardashell willrecompenseyou. Last Rites Gallery: What did you study in school? How has this experience shaped youraesthetic? Santiago Caruso: I studied to be an accountant at the secondaryschool(incredible).In reality, it was a humanistic,biologistandmathematicaleducation.Ofcoursethishasn't improved my aesthetic. The experience at the school of Beaux Arts here in Quilmes (and in everywhere in Argentina since a fewdecades) isanexperimental,openminded and a wick formation. The classic and technical elements you must learn when you want to be an artist, are not taught herein. Maybe just some primal notions of composition, but the structure of the shapes, bodies and the whole world is missing here, because the abstraction, the performances and installation, donot require youto learn and handle those things. So I was always in trouble and discussing this with the professors. When I was studying art at this school and before, I was reading comics and learning from illustrators. Now I work as an illustrator, and I study and think as a visual painter, so I have other criterion than the publishers manytimes.I amalways in thewrongplaceatthewrongtimeitseems. LastRitesGallery:Ifyouwerenotanartist,whatotherprofessionwouldyoupursue? Santiago Caruso: Now, I would like to be a philosopher or abook editor, whatever my brain allows me to do. But, I am a complete devotee of music. I play guitarandI sing too. So if I were not painting here all day, I would be singing the bluesat some hidden bar. Music is so relevant tomyartwork that it is always therefillingme,andinvitingme to enter into acreativespaceandtime.Oneday,IsawavideoofNeilYoungplayingthe piano and thephrase of Tagore: "GodrespectsmewhenIwork,butHelovesmewhen I sing"stuckwithme.InspiteofthefactthatIdon'tbelieveinGodontheTagoresway no more, the spirit of that idea is something I share. God is an abstractconcept ofa language. It is the idea that rules the entire logic pattern of alanguage. As music is a nonreferential language, I thinktheeternalmysteryofGod isbestrepresentedinmusic than in words or visualart. Neil Youngreallyhassomethingtobeonmyappreciationof that phrase, no doubt. I sing while I work. It leads me to the best stateof the spiritor mind.

LastRitesGallery:Whatwasyourmainmotivationforthisbodyofwork? Santiago Caruso: Firstofall,aboutthisshowImustsaythanksfortheinvitationandthe enormous privilege to share the space with the great artists that are RichardT Scott and Adam Miller. I was not sure howAdam andRichardfelt aboutshowingwithmebut since the opening, I have spoken with Richard and know heandAdam both really like my artwork. Theartpiecesreunitedunderthename"ARSOBSCURA: TerroryMiseria" all share the relation between Superstition and Fear. The images allows us to take a tour through the mythicalreligious symbolism of Western culture. Some of them are clearly about Catholicismandmanyothersaremorerelated tothefantasticlanguageof legends and mythic literature. "Ars Obscura" is a metaphor of the obscured myths, whichhaveapowerfuldomainoverthehumanspirit. Last Rites Gallery: Three different series, "Superstition and Inquisition", "Revealers, Prophets and Liars" and "Profound Shadows from the Past" make up your exhibition here at Last Rites Gallery. Please share with us why you choose to segment your works into individual series and how you feel these communicate the intention of the bodytoyouraudience. Santiago Caruso: The first series: "Superstition and Inquisition", has to do with the tension between pagan rituals and the hegemonic religion. If you pay attention to the witches series, you will find alltheclichesaboutthem:theflight,theuseofanimalsand children for dark purposes, the nudity of women,theoblationstotheSatan,etc.Soyou see them as a menace tothe humanity. But when you reachthe last figure, youarein front of thePatriarch,themanwhowantstodominate thefemininepoweroftheancient cults. This carrier of The Word ofthe Lord,Pope Innocent VIII, is writing the the papal edict that will start the worst persecution to the feminine gender in history, from that obscured Middle Ages till now. Womanare the realcarrierofmagic,understoodasthe mystery of beauty, sensuality, reproduction and the profoundknowledge about Nature which comprehends: medicinal plants, alchemy of cooking and the crop periods. So this series represents the clash between natural knowledge and the law that tries to subject it, or suppress it. The myth about witches created by the Inquisition has dominated with terror over the uneducated and superstitious people, to put down the ancientpowersofthefemalegendertothewordofthelord,thewordofman.


"Revealers, Prophets and Liars" is some kind of fantastic response to the previous mattersolved in watercolorspresentedasthecontrapositionof religionandpoetry:itis a mixture of visions about the heroic figure of bothways ofperception,whichbuildshis own story of existence. The prophet, the revealer, the hermit, the cursed poet are examples of different ways to live with the word. Poetry is my answer to dogmatism. Theonlywaytocreatenewmyths,thatletsusdreamagain. "Profound Shadows from the Past" is a gallery of dark powers who rules us: as time, icons,magic,sorrow,decadentsociety,dogmatism,etc. Last Rites Gallery: Tell us about your artistic process. You implement a "scratching" technique in some of your pieces such as Veiled God and The Plague of a Coming Age.Pleasetellusmoreabouthowandwhyyoudothis.



Santiago Caruso: ThescratchingtechniqueissomethingI'vediscoveredbyexploration. I've started making comics in 1998 and a professor of mine told me about a way to make passages betweenblacks to whites by scratching thebordersoftheinkmasses to use the texture of white bulaer as middle tones. This thing was difficult to get, because thecompact paperused to make that effect (Schoellerdurex of300 grams, I think), was not available here at those days. One day, several years later, a friendof mine gave me a stack of luster papers, different than the one mentioned before, and I started to experimentwith inks and a razor blade. Theexperiencewasincredible.After thatIusedacuttertohaveabettercontrolofthelines.

I love drawing and engraving, but the procedure I've created is different that the traditional scratching (which I found later). My process allows to reach a mixture between painting and drawing, withanengravinglook.Ifyouvisitmylibrary,youwillfind many painters, but I have a lot of books about etchings, engravings anddrawingsfrom Max Klinger, Albrecht Durer, Victor Delhez, Lucas Leyden, Harry Clarke and several medieval masters. I have a complete fascination in the darkness suggested by the stain, because in this nebula you can sense new forms mental phantasmagoria generated by the interaction of the visual stimulus of the crystallized ink on the unconscious and what itinterprets. Thus, what isonlyan inertsurface,beginstocome alive in the eyes or the mind of the artist. I create beginning from deep thinking and introspection and investigatingandreading,but theprocedurealwaysstartsfromadark base, always proposing to me other paths ordetailsthatI didn'texplorepreviously.The process is really free and full of improvisations. It's alive. This is my ritual to rescue a piece of light from the shadows ofthepast,fromtheunknown,fromthemystery.About the pieces you mentioned, "Veiled God" and "The plague of a coming age", are both related to the ideaofanoccultpast,ahiddenknowledgethatisrevealedbytheartwork. The first piece, speaks about the ancient entities created by the past cults, which incarnates later the well known idea of angels from Judaism and Christianity. All those imageries express different ways of understanding existence, the spirit or forces of nature. So the angelon the icon, canbeareelaborationofanoldergodofthe wind, as on the tale byMarkValentinethatthisimageservesasthe visualreflection.Thesecond piece is also about a forgotten conflict rooted on thepast,aviolenthistorythatgivesits fruit of death tothe future. If you can't remember and you try the fruits of this tree, you willbelost.Aburiedmemoryleadstofallintoaworseerror. Last Rites Gallery: You paint a dark andprovocativeworld that inmanywaysisnottoo differentfromourown.Whatdotheseplacesandsubjectsmeantoyouandwhydoyou chooseyourmediumstobringthemtolife? Santiago Caruso: Darkness is the provocative axis from where my aesthetic is based on, as the opposite space to the recognizable, it is the subjective place where the palpable form dilutes in a spectral mood to resemble to the subtle, the ethereal and reaching the expressive possibility of the sensitive. This dance of opposites: life and death, sortilegeandenigma,arethetwofacedentitywavingtheopus.Onthisperpetual motion of concealments and revelations, good and evilis redefinedpermanently.Iwant to deconstruct the idea of evil, questioning the established idea of good to find a new structure, which includes the condemned people to it. This aesthetic of rupture, can extractsomethingaboutthehuman,fromtheunhumanaspects. LastRitesGallery:Whatareyouroptimalstudioconditions? Santiago Caruso: I would liketo have it in perfect order, but that lastsas longImovea muscle. I don't need so much space. I make small pieces mostly, but in my mind, I need space. When you work on your own, you must manage many things: emails, contracts, invoices, paper works, social networks,readings,investigationsandstudies, bla, bla bla. Iam havingproblems tohandleallthisandcontinuesane.Themindneeds time to focus onto something very deeply, to create. I come to the working space at 9AM, but my optimal condition is tobe a little tired, at the hour when the sun is falling, and to work really in focusuntil I fall insidetheartwork.Ican'tkeepworkinglateatnight as I did beforebecause I have two kids and a wife who are waiting for me. This isthe most important change in my life, whichinterferes with my capacities, but atthesame time they have linked me more closely to life. If they were not there to keep me tied to the concrete aspects of existence, my mind and being would inevitably rise like a balloon until it found the sun: that flaming star or the circular spot of gold and orange shining on the paper.SoIlive,between theattempttotransformandcontrolthesymbol to operate on reality, and the realstructuresof thetasktoeducatemysonsinfreedom, tobebetterhumanbeingswhochangetheworld.

Last Rites Gallery: You have illustrated a number of book and album covers. Which piecehasbeenyourfavoritethusfar? Santiago Caruso: I really love several pieces I have painted. I love one tiny image I made, from my firsts scratchings: Mystery I. It is a pieceof paper of 9 cm by 2.5 cm, about a masked figure whohasthekeytosomeplacein custody.Ithinkthisimagehas been the keyhole to enter intoor to spy on a new world I am discovering with each artwork. The other piece I love so much isGabinete de Maravillas (Wunderkammer). I made it from a tale by ngel Olgoso, an incredible Spanish writer of microfictions. I don'thaveitanymoreasGuillermodelToroboughtit.


Last Rites Gallery: Your pieces whether intentional or not, read as acommentary on mankind and society. Is this intentional? What do you think is the bane of the individual?Society? Santiago Caruso: The bane of the individual is society, consumer society. The hegemonic vision of the neoliberalism thatseescitizensasconsumptionsubjects,with an only and holy right ontheir favor: to consume or to be consumed,is what destroys the human spirit, his capacities and liberty to choose and think. So, the focus on mankind's conflict isalways intentional in my production, because it concernsapartof theproblemofevil. Last Rites Gallery: Here is our Paul Booth question: if you could dig upan artist from thepasttoconsumetheirbrainsformoreartisticpower,whowoulditbe? Santiago Caruso: I choose to taste Charles Baudelaires, because I really like the bittersweetflavors.Itwouldtasteastheperfectwine.