CONFRONTATIONAL CERAMICS. The Artist as Social Critic
Judith S. Schwartz
Caxigueiro’s long practice of working with clay has for the past 20 years focused on installation. While he has always been concerned with “warrior” themes, his most poignant series culminated in a 1998 installation called The Language of Memory (A Linguaxe da Memoria). The airiness surrounding the installation is an important contrast for him, for it “generates in the spectator feelings of anxiety, mystery, and unease”. Burnt, battered, and mutilated books made of simulated weathered ceramic are exhibited in a contemplative, serene setting which accentuates the disparity. The books are of different sizes, shapes and textures, and are filled with holes representing the dark recesses of death. This poignant work references “ethnic barbarism”, the genocide inflicted during the Bosnian War. He questions how man is capable of being so merciless, feeling that the act or impulse to eradicate defenceless people by eliminating their history and their culture is far worse than the physical act of destroying their bodies. The sheer thought that one could destroy a people and its culture does in fact create an even more devastating record of that violence and lives infamously in our collective history.
Judith S. Schwartz. Ed. University of Pennsylvania Press – Philadelphia. A&C Black – London