George De Decker & Guido De Bruyn
a homage to Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca (1898-1936).
For this multimedia project, George De Decker collaborated with director and poet Guido De Bruyn.
Lorca left Madrid in July, 1936, three days before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He was murdered soon afterwards by nationalist militias, somewhere in the province of Granada. His body was never found.
De Decker & De Bruyn travelled to the Spanish capital, where they shot an 8mm black-and-white film about Guernica (1937), Pablo Picasso's pictorial pamphlet par excellence. In the Parque El Retiro, they also made sound recordings of a series of passers-by, who they asked to read aloud Lorca's poem La cogida y la muerte.
The 8mm film dovetails with the eight De Decker videos that were projected wall-sized in the exhibition. These are black-and-white shadow registrations that have been deliberately left unedited. Eight studies of light, in real time, that are also studies of second-hand light, of shadow. The shades of grey are a reference to Picasso's masterpiece.
The eight videos were given a soundtrack composed by George De Decker. One of these was a soundscape featuring Guido De Bruyn’s homage poem to Lorca Les Misérables.
A separate sound installation played a polyphonic arrangement of Federico García Lorca’s poem La cogida y la muerte, edited and mixed by De Decker.
© Guido De Bruyn (translation: Steven Smith)
Madrid, August 2011
We stroll through the great park in the heart of the city with a collection of poems by Federico García Lorca in the one hand and a field recorder in the other. We approach everyone who crosses our path. Would they care to read a poem from the collection? Nobody refuses. Quite the contrary. Their enthusiasm is touching. Among our readers: a young couple from Lisbon, an old woman, a painter on a bench (who tells us in a by-the-way tone that he prefers Lorca’s theatre texts to his poetry), three children, a girl squatting on a balustrade, and a security guard (his velvety voice contrasting sharply with the pistol on his hip).
Also touching is a man who turns out to be deaf, but has lip-read our question despite our faltering Spanish. He apologises for his high-pitched voice, saying it will do the great poet an injustice. But then he gives us a beautiful eulogy to Lorca, who is still very much alive here, even though he has meanwhile been dead for seventy-five years.
From the diary of Guido De Bruyn, Madrid 2011.