L’ETAT

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It’s hard to follow ideals in this fucked up world. Everything is so twisted, it’s even harder to find any ideal at all, there’s too much garbage out there, too much info. So once you have it (and you are sure) hold tight to it and never loose it. In other words: don’t be a whore.

Mica Chemmes & Fernando Moreno Andrade
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Mika, from the viewpoint of an artist, how important is the night?
Mica: The night is the moment of the day when people go to sleep and artists wake up. Only then ideas can come rushing with nothing to stop them, sometimes through dreams… Think of… Schoenberg’s ‘Erwartung’ and ‘Verklärte Nacht’ with sunny chords, or Kirchners’s frauen and Dr. Caligari’s Caesar wandering through the streets in daylight. It couldn’t have happened any other way.
Fernardo: Very. Night is darkness, loneliness, madness, wildness, euphoria, thus the perfect compounds for inspiration (and creativity). Night IS art.
Please tell us a dream that you remember.

Mica: For seven years now, I’ve been keeping a dream journal so I have a lot like those. I usually dream of being chased, this was no exception:
I call the elevator and push the button to the ground floor. Without any notice, it makes another stop, on the second floor, but there is a horse alone in the corridor. I find that very strange, so I quickly push the button again, but the elevator ends up on the basement. I hear country chase music, and I step out. There are three men dressed as cowboys, yelling, playing with toy trains. In the wall behind them there is a projection of the Wild West dessert. They have the horse with them. They see me and I jump onto the elevator. While it rises, I watch horrified as they run towards the stairs. I am at the building entrance and I put the key on the door but there is a problem with the lock, as the key turns and turns without opening it. I hear the cowboys screaming in the distance and I finally get to open the door so I step outside. The street is empty and calm, I look at the sky and it is fuchsia. I think it must be a dream, taking into account what has just happened and the color of the sky. I decide to go and get something to eat while I wait to wake up. I enter a restaurant and order a cheese burger.
Fernardo: I usually don’t dream, and when I do I just forget it.
Sometimes the worst thing in the art, it’s when you can’t sell it. Recognition of modern art can only be built on kind of price ground. Please, tell me what do you think about prices what we put on our creativity?

Mica: Putting a price to creativity is almost an impossible matter, as it’s totally subjective, and most of the times depends on a lot of characteristics that shouldn’t, like popularity, or if the artist is alive or dead, etc. And then there is underpriced and overpriced art. For whom? There is no chance everyone will ever agree on this. We just have to accept what the majority – or the ‘experts’ – think.
Fernardo: It’s hard to follow ideals in this fucked up world. Everything is so twisted, it’s even harder to find any ideal at all, there’s too much garbage out there, too much info. So once you have it (and you are sure) hold tight to it and never loose it. In other words: don’t be a whore.
How is the contemporary culture of Argentina unique, and what distinguishes it from other world cultures?
Mica: Although Argentina has always been defined by the mixture of cultures and the admiration of Western countries, there is a strong sense of patriotism including lots of popular culture symbols – ex. meat, mate, football, national music & television, etc. – which I can say I relate to none. As for creativity, Argentinians have had so many economical disappointments that they can manage to make extraordinary with little resources, and they can overcome crisis easily.
Fernardo: Argentine modern culture it’s not unique, it’s just a copy of everything else. I try to escape from that.
Would you like to be born in another country, under another name and be a different person?
Mica: I do work in other artistic fields under different pseudonyms. I would like to be (and sometimes I am) another person in addition to this one.
Fernardo: Not just another country, another time.
Please tell us, why is the ideal ETAT art group Jules Florencio Cortazar? Why was his philosophy an important element in your manifesto? How did his book reflect a main issues of the modern human?
Mica: The term ‘l’etat second’ originally coined by the French as a state of trance in which the person does things he wouldn’t do otherwise, adopted a different meaning with Cortazar. For him, ‘l’état second’ referred to the moment of maximum creativity, between abstraction and concentration, the lack of schedules, the consummation of a work that already existed but hadn’t been written. It sounded about right to name the magazine with this concept we definitely related to. Once we stopped publishing it, we decided to keep the name to just ETAT.
If we take a look at Cortazar’s masterpiece ‘Hopscotch’ its characters debate between existentialism and nihilism. We can see them adapting to change –or not-. We can also analyze his books from their structure and compare them to life: the structure of this antinovel reveals the multiplicity of ways of seeing the same thing, or the circular structure of ‘The Continuity of Parks’, in which the man reading the story shifts into the victim in the story he is reading. Cortazar was also very involved in politics, and that can be seen in works such as ‘House Taken Over’.
Fernardo: We just used his view on “L’Etat Second”, in which he said it was to work in the maximum splendor of creativity. Read “Hopscotch” and you will understand why Jelly Roll Morton is so important.
I love the movie Michelangelo Antonioni by Jules Florencio Cortazar (Devil’s saliva Cortazar). It was one of my first experiences of what to expect from modern fashion. Our fashion world (and the people in it) creates an aura of selfishness and emptiness. Under beauty we hide clueless and reality. It is no secret that their morals are sick. But still, what do you find the powerful in modern art and what unique experience, do you think we get today?
Mica: The power -and weakness- of modern art is that everyone can say anything and everything is valid. We have come to a place where primitive forms of art embrace the new ones and coexist together. I think that the uniqueness of this era is that communication plays the key role. Art always longed to communicate something, but for the first time in history we can share it instantly, to anyone in the world and to great amounts of people at the same time. And free of charge! That is powerful.
Fernardo: Modern art has come to simplify everything so people can digest it better. There it is, you get nothing.
Human nature is selfish and empty. Through our work we create alternative realities to escape THIS reality.
What is the contemporary moral problem?
Mica: Man has been fooled so many times that he doesn’t mind fooling another. Everything turns into a competition, and because everyone wants to get there first, they are willing to do anything, even cheating, copying, stealing or making garbage.
Fernardo: Selfishness. Existence has become a problem along with the already existing problem of death. So life is too short, they say, therefore we maximize our time using it just for ourselves.
Mica, tell me more about your collection of accessories. Have you studied to master jewelry? Do you create all of your jewelry by hand?
Mica: I learn the techniques and with time I managed to apply them to the designs in my head. I rapidly became obsessed. It is a very artisanal work –every single ring is added by hand- and it can consume a lot of time. I am working on a dress now. Someday I will finish it.
I am a very passionate and overreacting person. If my life was a script, the play would be a tragedy.
If we will follow your manifesto, we can see that you refer to the Renaissance as the greatest era. What special things did we have in the past that no longer exists? What kind of art can challenge people today and be accessible to everyone, so that they can achieve a level of consciousness with anyone? Do you foresee a potential to make something that can help all people understand their life? What should it be?
Mica: I think that in the past people appreciated quality more than nowadays – quality in the photographs, quality in the productions, respected the techniques. Breaking the rules became only an excuse for those who are lazy.
If we think of accessible to anyone, we are thinking of something that can fit into mass culture and regrettably, it is something that doesn’t involve thinking.
Regarding the third question, no I don’t see it. Everyday society becomes fascinated by even more trivial subjects; I can hardly see that in the future everyone could relate to something other than gossips or sport. It would have to be something VERY popular and shallow. It is not that I am an elitist who thinks art should not be for all, on the contrary, I hope someday we can revert this situation.
Fernardo: In the past people had innocence. Nowadays we all live paranoid, we do not trust in each other, we are afraid of everything.
The future of art is to create something that hasn’t been created yet, but everything HAS been created already, so in order to do that we need to create a new level of signs, symbols, language, everything. We need to leave behind everything we know, and start from zero. The problem is I don’t think that is possible.
What would you like other people to remember about your life?
Mica: On III BC, Herostratus set the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) on fire, a fire that would burn it down completely. He later confessed that he was trying to achieve immortality. The authorities where so outraged that they prohibited repeating his name, so that history would forget him. Were his ideals wrong? I don’t think so. I believe his fear of ceasing to exist was so big that he needed extreme measures to make sure that he would be remembered, being his fear so big that he didn’t care as what –a crazy arsonist-. I admire his will, not what he did to achieve it. Unlike him, I would like to be remembered for creating something, not destroying it. Something I have not done yet.
Fernardo: My work, and that it changed things.
I am looking for a person who knows something 100 %.

Mica: No I don’t, but I find solace in knowing that no one else does.
Fernardo: No. Absolute knowledge does not exist and won’t ever exist. That’s the beauty of life.

Мика Чеммес (идейный директор L’ETAT, концептуальный ювелир) меня вдохновила на творческие подвиги в направлении коллажного арта много лет назад. Я всегда считала, что многие встречи людей неслучайны. Образуются следы от слов и изображений. И это один из ярких примеров таких отпечатков. Она вдохновила моё стремление создать что-то личное, без зазрения и я последовала этому совету, благодаря ее поддержке.
Я бесконечно рада делиться ее творчеством в единстве с аргентинской арт-группой L’ETIT (Буэнос-Айрес). В данном случае, я просила Мику создать что-то вроде экспериментального интервью. Фернандо Морено (один из креативных директоров) и Мика Чеммес отвечают на одинаковые вопросы о жизни, лжи, кино, себе и даже Флоренсио Кортасаре.
Манифест L’ETAT.
В период Возрождения было своеобразное и эффективное средство избавления от безумия: Так называемый «Корабль Дураков». Это всего лишь лодка, нагруженная умственно отсталыми людьми, которые однажды отходили от берега навсегда. Отходили они всё дальше и дальше, потому что им было отказано возвращаться на берег. Их судьбу больше никто не определял, но они блуждали через грязное море, пока не закреплялись в новом порту. Они как будто были обречены на бесконечную дорогу. Заболевая проказой, путешественники оседали в местах заброшенных и бедных больниц, где делили комнаты и палаты с убийцами, уродливыми грабителями, погибающими от инфекций. Спустя столетия, это чувство как будто возвращается из прошлого.
Мы застряли в ловушке между уже заказанным потребительским будущим и романтическим совершенным, но безвозвратно прошлым. Мы бесполезное поколение, потому что общество, обладая всеми благами, призывает нас стать просто потребителями. Мы любим вещи с пустым содержанием, безостановочные картинки сменяются одна за другой. Не понадобилось много времени, чтобы Сома таблетки распространялись бесплатно (прим. – Lems Belka: это таблетки, которые расслабляют мышцы до состояния подобно наркотическому. Первая страна выпуска – США, город Детройт, где уровень преступности, бедности, наркотической зависимости превысил тире превышает человеческие условия жизни. Город умер после того, как остановился важный американский автомобильный концерн Форд и тысячи людей остались без денег. Они довели город до призрачности).
Нам только поверхностно интересны люди. Мы не приближаемся к ним близко по мере постоянно растущего эгоизма, который позволяет нам скользить по поверхности отношений. Нам не остаётся времени думать о том, что мы делаем и почему. Мы ждем, когда же наступит свободное время, одалживая только себя работе, чтобы найти себя в счастье от веселья, в тривиальных вечеринках, хотя обычно мы даже не помним, что с нами случилось и с кем. На самом деле, нас даже забавляют эти провалы, и мы развлекаемся тем, что пытаемся восстановить события прошлой ночи, как будто они стали загадкой, пропавшей в нас без вести. Нам предлагают освободиться от мыслей, и это даже считается тяжелым бременем, как ломка в спине и мы, конечно, согласны кивать головой на болтовню, бред. Мы ведь сознательно соблазняем друг друга, и если губы не были готовы к поцелую, они готовы принять удар.
В идеалах ”L’Etat Second” течёт кровь Флоре́нсио Корта́сара. Кровь этого момента наивысшего творческого пика с целью показать, что мы не в силах уже найти чистую красоту. Мы утверждаем, что новинка не обязательно гарантирует удовлетворение, иногда для достижения прогресса необходимо повернуться и посмотреть назад. Мы – этот тип людей.
С одной стороны, будет плыть Корабль дураков, наполненный дикими лицами, которые постепенно погружаются в темноту мира, пересекая пейзажи, которые лишь говорят о странной алхимии знаний, приведя мир к скотоложеству и концу света. С другой стороны, будет Корабль дураков, который сформирует образец мудрости и дидактики (правильного воспитания), и этот корабль плывёт как Одиссея человеческих недостатков.


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