Necesariamente tiene que ser una utopía

Cristòfol Pons Kaplan Projects
February 2023

I once read that ideas are the most powerful of weapons. The word “idea” is a broad-ranging, versatile concept. Situated halfway between good and evil, it embraces the thinking of the whole of humankind. On the other hand, the word “weapon”–as a threat or shield–has connotations of violence in the most common of cases. If the word “idea” prevails over weapons, then it has unquestionable authority as a concept, giving relative power to all those with a capacity to think for themselves.

The materialization of human ideas has formed and deformed cultures for centuries. Collective beliefs and events have set the pace of history, bringing about the most irremediable of changes. Nonetheless, the collectiveness of our ideas has slowly been fractured, bringing us closer to a reality that might be described, with Orwell’s permission, as dystopian. If I abandon the arrogance that characterizes the species to which I belong, our ideas can be affirmed to be the things most prone to corruption, circumscription and conditioning. This manipulation takes place in a subtle, almost imperceptible way through the injection of an implacable serum called the system. That is why glorifying the power of ideals over the power of weapons can come to be an obsolete, deeply demagogic act.

So if we become aware of our state of subjugation, how can we oppose the system?

For Cristòfol Pons (Minorca, 1981), there is only one possible answer to this question: revolution. Through a series of paintings, the exhibition “It’s got to be a utopia” reflects on revolutionary processes from their initial origins; that is, the irate acts of a population that rises up against an oppressive system.

In conversations with the artist, he explains that his creative process is based on inciting his own thoughts to rebellion. This conscious process of self-insurrection triggers the creation of images of hooded armed women whose fury is manifested through destructive gestures clamouring for true freedom, feminism and anarchy. Their anonymity symbolizes the collectiveness of their beliefs, since they are not identifiable as individuals but as a powerful joint entity.

Cristòfol Pons combines the language of comics with the 1980s collective imagination in the creation of scenarios that trigger almost synesthetic effects. Through the visual representation of smoke, explosions and movement, the atmosphere of a triumphant revolution is achieved, with the oppressor’s defeat and the victory of anarchism. The spectator can actually hear the sirens and the noise of cars, megaphones and shots ringing out in the crowd. Without the presence of these elements, the revolutionary act would lose its essence and we would become docile, malleable creatures.

Other elements, like texts or coordinates, can also be seen in the paintings, representing the insurgents’ ideas through sprayed graffiti. Buildings symbolic of today’s capitalist system can also be seen, in a state of destruction that signals defeat. The pictorial style and chosen images make the message clearly understandable to the spectator, using a language they can recognize, so that they can comprehend what is happening in each of the paintings and, above all, why.

Cristòfol Pons’ work highlights the destructive energy that is needed to challenge the violence of a system that dismantles our collectiveness and restricts our acts, sabotaging the most minimum attempt at opposition or unrest.

In an almost imperceptible way, the structure to which we belong inculcates a sense of individuality in us, as if this were the only possible system, transforming collective beliefs and an anarchic feminist future into an unachievable utopia.

The system infantilizes us, turning us against each other so that there is no resistance to its consolidation. In this way, it legitimizes our obedience, inculcating the idea that an armed revolution by a powerful, combative multitude is not possible and that it has got to be a utopia.

Belén Martínez