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Production: Actual Films, Spain, 1970. Idea: Javier Aguirre. Music: Luis de Pablo. Photography: Juan García. Black & White, 312 metres. Film dedicated to Malevich and Oteiza.


Comments about the film


In my opinion, this is by far, the most impressive of the four movies by Aguirre I know: a real masterpiece, what will this man do from this moment? a so young person! – maybe, in the bottom of his anguish, being too young, to surpass it and surpass himself? I imagine that by inventing a much difficult advance, he will be forced to turn back in his labyrinth and look for some other issues – that I not even make out, because he has bumped into an impassable wall - to his creative effort… / … In the zero which is shown to me now and I try to understand as in Basque and in Spanish, in this zero repeatedly verbally designed, in the very centre of a total empty darkness, a pure, simple white dot appears unexpected and with imperium, it grows extremely slowly turning into a sun sphere and when it extends to it, it invades the whole screen, sweeping the shadow and its reminiscence. Then, after an atrocious pause, the victorious white moves backwards, slowly giving way to negation, or installs it anew. I see as a smaller and smaller sphere, again it turns into a dot and at the end disappears, leaving no groove or hint, so simple, deep and for me, so terrifying… / … the remote and subtle theologians of On will perfectly understand, I believe, the terrible idea suggested by Aguirre, and Eckehart and other authorities with the same style and mankind, and also Luria, with his theory of Zimzum. I am referring to very different thoughts, complex and rare… /… but, in the top, I observe, while I am writing that I am adding terror to my distress. An astonishing rhythm – the last ineffable secret of the cosmic order and so of the art- accompanied and enhanced by the excellent music by Luis de Pablo.




Uts cero could not be a film but a Buddhist meditation. And if it is a Buddhist meditation, it is not a film …/ … Uts cero can be a meditation but can also be a hallucination… /… when I say it can be no cinema I’m saying it can be no-art. But this is not pejorative. Uts Cero is not Art because it is more than Art…/ … A mathematician could take this film and use it to make some equation. An equation with continuous differentials: this is what Uts cero really is. …/ ... Aguirre’s tendency, inside its trajectory as an author is unloading impurities in order to reach the total purity: the void. So the last act of this sacrifice of impurities, the complete purity will reach the total void, that is, not to do anything, stopping all activity, even cinematographic activity.




As a painter whose artistic intentions are always skimming the scientist ones, this experiment seems to me one of the most important ones I have seen. I think it is an absolute display. I have never seen in the cinema a something so clear, an idea so convincing. It is something much pure and plain, of an incredible purity…/ … I have painted so many circles in my life and for me the result of Uts Cero is a perfect artistic work and, at this moment, unbeatable. I consider that to surpass it, is really difficult, that is to go beyond it … /… the time sequence is perfect. It can be compared in a certain way to Ravel’s bolero.




Among Aguirre’s short films I have seen, I was mostly interested by Uts Cero. The reason is so clear. The dot is the minimum possible representation: “The only essential bridge between word and silence”, said Kandinsky. Only from a dot, we will express graphically all which is possible… /… I believe it is authentic cinema, as the real cinema does not have to be the illustration of a text, but an image with its own significance… /… Uts Cero demonstrates the possibility of building a graphic-dynamic alphabet.




Uts Cero is the one I prefer. It has tension. And the music is located in the hole of the ring and is increasing and is increasing and is increasing… /… It is so interesting because Aguirre does not cross over the borders… American painters as Noland and Olitsky and also Kelly, from the support surface or the all over field as these call it, are typecast. This doesn’t happen in Uts Cero. There are borders here because otherwise one is left in the street. The matter is entering the inside…/… I like Uts Cero because it is extreme. And simple. I remember a great anecdote with a Cantaor (Flamenco singer), Pepe el de la Matrona, who visited one day an exhibition and in front one of my paintings said something that can be applied to Uts Cero too “That seems too simple but it is not simple at all”.




Uts Cero drives us to the most transcendental dimension of time: not to the psychic time, or the impersonal time, depersonalized and nearly transferable of the people we are too, of the person I am; but the cosmic time that arises from the void, punctually, with an enormous lighting and acoustic strength, even plastic, and that grows until it fills the whole and then moves back to the void and to the original shadows. It is the cosmos, the being, but it could also be life and conscience.




The own contemporary literary narrative tends to abandon the traditional structures and through a series of self-limitation, impoverishing the denotative information for a connotative enrichment, acting as poetic language. At this respect, it is necessary to refer as a limit example, to the novels by Samuel Beckett, particularly his late works.




Uts Cero is clearly related with the concrete poetry. I remember some of the works by Jean-François Bory and Ferdinand Kriwet, by association of ideas. In the book (In “Libro”) some similar things have been done, but it is a pretty original cinematographic idea…/… What mostly interests me in the film “Uts Cero” is the treatment of time. It is a time that passes. A time you are mixed to. You are the accomplice of the time. You enter the time. You take active part in time, but mainly, you are completely aware of it.




Even more complex due to its simplicity: doing and undoing – that means… what does it mean? The imperceptible passing of time. It is not easy to capture this hidden sense.




Uts Cero immerses us in the Universe… /… Uts Cero is a galaxy.




The limit, foreseeable until today, the greatest simplification of the whole in spite of its childish elemental nature, this is Uts Cero. I would call it more than your starting point or arrival, the support of your world. It is much curious to contrast what we could consider the final point in a permanent action – I, told to myself, as minuscule spectator, nearly an ant: the whole or the void, its unbeatable, monotonous, boring-suggesting Hamlet’s “to be or not to be”.




Then, “Che, che, che”. What! What Che? Che and also Uts Cero. Void and Zero, Oteiza and Malevitch.




From Uts urbs orb zero, germinal void, the zero in the origin, the primitive one, the purity of the zero, from the sacred circle and in the shadows, its paternal generative light grows (father – sky – celestial – spherical – circular) Is there a forward and a backward? So the Brahmanic sacrifice marks the birth; splendour and death of an orb, cosmic Urbs Uts.




Something elusive that happens to end in the total communication. And this happens to this film and also to “Impulsos Opticos en Progresion Geométrica” (Optical Impulses in Geometrical Progression) I consider so mysterious.




The absolute simplicity of this filmic operation is westerner and also easterner. A film written in binary language which is related to movement and which is also a proposal on time, on the change from life to death… /… it is a purely specular work and that is the reason of its appeal. It does not reflect anything but what is inside the viewer. It is not moral, it is not ethical and in a certain way, it is not human.




In the case of the growing circle, it can seem invariable to us for a few seconds (I don’t know how many, it will depend on the radius and so on) and the perception of the narration in the very moment it is happening has a retrospective comparative character, maybe followed by an unavoidable sensation of discontinuity. Nothing nullifies the interest of the experiment, furthermore, it increases the interest, as it causes thoughts and possible hypothesis… /… We could have employed a circular screen. The growing of the lighting circle, which would mean the decreasing of the circular ring. It also means that the rhythm of both variations from a quantitative point of view would be the same, but surely not from an optical point of view.




Totally impressed by the film Uts Cero which I’ve seen in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam – we have decided to bring it to Kassel if possible… / … Among the Documenta Show there are constant exhibitions every five years in the Oldest Public Museum of Europe. The name of the trade fair for this project will be the following one “Sleep of Reason” and will start on 20th February 1988. The Actual Art from Europe and America will be in exhibition…/… this work borders on media and will act as a perfect highlight. It will be shown in the second floor, a longer room than in Amsterdam, for the image to have a larger space.



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