Caos and Cosmos: Cyp Cristiali's chromatic injections

20 February - 4 April 2021

 He further investigated and developed this technique, tried a great number of formal variables and gradually delved more deeply into a highly personal and intricate path.

The creative career of Carnot Pose, better known by the artistic name of Cyp Cristiali, was as intense and radiant as his paintings. His detailed and abundant works originated during a short period – a little more than half a decade of the 70’s.  He held only a few exhibitions and vanished from the artistic scene as mysteriously as he had appeared.


The mystery began when the artist was already of an advanced age – more than 50 years’ old – with an alias just a little stranger than his own name, and with an extravagant painting technique that, nevertheless, allowed him to obtain outstanding results.


Carnot Israel Pose Mesías Ballejo (Lascano, February 19, 1922 – Montevideo, August 4, 1988) was the tenth son of a family with 12 children.  At the age of 5, the family moved from the Department of Rocha to the capital city of Montevideo. “At twelve, I was already working and smoking”.2  From an early age, he worked as a nurse, a profession to which he devoted his life. Adverse personal and family circumstances led him -without prior studies- to drawing, maybe as a form of therapy or just as a pastime. “At first, I amused myself by making drawings with Sylvapen brand markers.  As if by their own will, the color dots transformed themselves into forms: one day, my hospital fellow workers presented me with oils and a Duraboard to help add brightness to my paintings.  It then occurred to me to inject oil in a syringe and, with a core needle, apply the same dots, in order to produce a relief painting.”


However, Carnot did not rest in the shade of this remarkable finding. He further investigated and developed this technique, tried a great number of formal variables and gradually delved more deeply into a highly personal and intricate path.


Although Carnot was a self-taught artist, his formal endeavors brought him into contact with the late splendor of Spanish Art Informel  -a trend that had arrived a decade earlier in the region- , with the achievements of U.S. Abstract Expressionism and the echoes of Art Brut, originating in France.  In any case, the above currents generated the breeding ground for the advent in Uruguay of artistic movements different and distant from the trends advocated by Torres Garcia and his followers, such as Social Realism or the conservative, outdated Naturalism reigning during the mid XX century. 


La trayectoria creativa de Carnot Pose, más conocido por el seudónimo artístico de Cyp Crisitiali, fue tan intensa y radiante como sus pinturas. Su producción detallista y copiosa se concentró en un lapso reducido –en la década de los setenta del siglo pasado–, realizó pocas exposiciones y desapareció de la escena casi tan misteriosamente como había surgido.


Su técnica fue tan especial y única como su nombre: “Al principio me entretenía formando dibujos con sylvapen. Los puntos de colores se encargaban por sí mismos de convertirse en formas; un día, mis compañeros del hospital me regalaron óleos y una tabla de duraboard, para que mis pinturas fueran más brillantes. Entonces se me ocurrió poner óleo en la jeringa de inyecciones y con una aguja gruesa comencé a poner los mismos puntos, esta vez con relieve.” 


Pero Carnot no se durmió a la sombra de ese hallazgo sorprendente. Investigó y trabajó su técnica, probó un sinfín de variantes formales y de a poco fue adentrándose por un camino personal y laberíntico. 


En la obra de Cyp Cristiali se advierte el proceso creativo, la “cocina” del pintor, ya que mantiene un ritmo sostenido de descarga  –la distancia regular entre los pinitos– que solo concluye –horror vacui– cuando se acaba la superficie a pintar. Opera según un sistema de adición y de adhesión: la sumatoria de ese goteo controlado de la jeringa que queda fuertemente fijado al soporte de duraboard. El resultado es una pintura erizada, eléctrica, de fuerte impacto visual.