L’Art en Egypte V: Angelo de Riz, by : Kamel El-Telmisany
Don Quichotte 1939
Art in Egypt V Angelo de Riz
stunning panoramas, a brick wall splitting like the prow of a ship a night peopled with phantoms bathed in the calm waters of a bay a room whose walls change into clouds, these things that Angelo de Riz shows us make up the multiple phases of a nightmare far more thrilling and grandiose than domestic life. lecture on Surrealism by Georges Henein 1937 Four years have passed since Angelo de Riz left a few of his luminous paintings in a cramped room in Cairo and thought no more about them. When people looked at them, they discovered a kind of painting very different from what they usually saw. How far these pictures were from the vulgarity of artistic pepper-throwing, which made their eyes sting and concealed nature’s innermost being. They demanded to take back their right to revel in imagination, to dance with green birds and translucent clouds as the moon rises, surrounded by haloes.
They knew that this girl whose eyelids are heavy with dreams, who appears every evening on the distant horizon, and who vanishes when dawn awakens …, this girl whose eyelids were delicately sculpted by time and whose long eyelashes were painted by the wind with its indelible colors …, this pure person who seems a stranger to us but who lives so intensely in our dreams …, this creature only closed her poisoned coral mouth to unite on her lips the taste of kisses and of suicide. Her eyes smiled ceaselessly in the void at everyone except you, my poor friend, whom the world has deprived of an imagination that laughs giddily, flies with the white bird and swims with the goldfish every morning. Hope takes refuge in her heavy eyelids and love wanders there. The bitter drops are suppressed, but the magnificent blood seeps from her heart. The storm seethes under each eyelash, only to expire in the neighboring sky. Shelter for springtime treasures gathered by the butterfly. Source of childish tears shed for the mud doll which has just been beheaded. The glass of ordinary red wine, clouded by the swirls of your pain and by the whirlpools of your sadness, breaks. Your last cigarette is dying, and the empty packet is replaced by the untroubled river. Go back, yet again, into your retreat, lie down once more with cold sadness; only to wake up, yet again, face to face with your sufferings. The wheel turns indifferently, pitilessly. What could be more arresting than the abrupt revelation of the machinery of nature? Suddenly, the abyss is swept away by human searchlights. The cloud is not as far from the mountain’s peak as the traders in the temple insist on claiming; it is very close. Stop for a moment and reflect on this treasure, around which fairies have woven a gaseous structure that is invisible as long as a dream does not enter the vision. At the very top, the steps to the palace vanish suddenly into ethereal realms, and your feet must grow used to treading paths of air. You have reached the top step but, at your approach, new species have created themselves instinctively. May solitude penetrate your every pore, pell-mell, with starlight and the immense sidereal lassitude, you the unhappy soul who weeps, by day, for silenced imagination. Reach out your hand and seize the cloud, for it is not as far off as the pepper throwers claim. Here it is coming through the window and brushing against you. It has passed through walls to come and live with you, full of your dreams and your fantasy, which philistines wanted to destroy. The cloud is now right next to your heart … listen to it quivering, right next to your lungs, listen to it beating. It is full of nostalgic rhythms that will endure until after your death. Why fear the serpent crawling on the steps? It is no trickster, and it is harmless, for only a man of this dishonest type can harm you. A golden meander, desert-loving, the black cloud’s neighbor, it lives on this solitary tree, which looks like an old prostitute deprived of friendship, love and jewels. And yet she is a virgin as pure as our dreams. Pass through the color, tear down the painting, smash the frame and throw it out of the window so that you can live with those precious beings that have been taken from you by jealous people who are baffled by life and man. Purify your heart, my friend, with this cloud that has come to you, through windows and walls, taking flight from the hands of the eternally taciturn surrealist painter Angelo de Riz. For the air and the cloud belong to the poor people who have no land.