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Juan Hidalgo - The Sound of a Gesture

The development of art and the arts have advanced in a form that runs parallel to the search for individual and collective liberties. In spite of periodical crises, the artist has become a forerunner of the changes that society will enjoy some time later. Some artists, as is the case with Juan Hidalgo, have not only partaken in that search for liberty in an audacious manner but also have fought against the separation of the artistic disciplines into stagnant pools. Hidalgo, certainly, was and is a musician, writer, conceptual artist and photographer. Creator, in short, of parallel worlds that sometimes sound and in other moments can be visually perceived. His is a total art that passes to the mind of the public by multiple channels and in subtle forms. It’s because of that that the study of his person has to make compromises about many fields because the wealth of references from where he nurtures himself really is that diverse.

There exists a crisis of the classification of the arts by virtue of its chronological position, or its name-giving by virtue of the techniques employed for their realization, or the one that classifies them by comparison with other periods.

An art that incorporates industrial objects, a music that opens itself to silence and to clamor, a dramaturgy that renounces sense: what they prefigure is an art that is alien to chronology and technical discipline, and to become a modality. It might be defined as an interstitial art, because it occupies the free spaces that styles leave open, they are arts that are nourished by freedom.

Using the life and the work of Juan Hidalgo we have tried to warp a conductive thread, that under its prism revisits the whole of the history of art, that history of art that he, in union with the ritual, has declared his love to at so many occasions.

The process of knowledge, eventually, seems to configure itself as a destruction of the ancient immutable frontiers. As Javier Sampedro says: “Knowing, just like creating, is sketching metaphors, sketching nexuses between different spheres of knowledge.”

This is achieved when we make an effort to forgo considering isolated events. We cannot freeze realities with a photographic or radiographic spirit, we have to get used to look at processes. Reality is a continuous flow, a wave that cannot tell us how the sea makes a complete pattern of tides.

It may seem paradoxical but we could be talking for hours about how language does not help us to communicate ourselves.

Juan Hidalgo & David Tudor


Aristotle said that there never has been a genius without a hint of creativity. Cesare Lombroso, near the end of the 20th Century, maintained that geniality was a kind of degenerative psychosis. Jung said that creative work functions as a restructuring of the personality of the artist.

Creativity as the tendency of the individual to generate ideas also brings along an inclination to take risks. The creative person doesn’t feel he needs to be safe at all moments.

Hidalgo envelopes the spirit of the enlightenment by his knowledge of languages, harmony or oriental disciplines, the Bohemia of the dandy and the rebellion of the beatnik. He maintains the luminosity of the “Age of Enlightenment” through this age that obscures everything.

Etymology teaches us that the word “genius” has the same root as “genital”, “genitive” and “gene”.

If one is highly specialized in a specific field, one will not be very creative, because too much specialization hinders one to come close to other aspects of reality.

The great problem of artists is that for their creativity to “exist” it must be socially accepted. And because of this, creativity nowadays is a capacity that has tremendously difficult development, because it cannot simply be translated into financial results. Creation always generates a certain distortion within the different social strata that precisely are what they are because of the homogeneity of all the members that make them up.

Society ought to award creative persons even if they fail, for taking on risks and their will to advance, punish them even if they succeeds, with disapproval, or silence - the most effective of all censures.

As we have condemned censure and imposed silence, we have woven this work together with the intention to abjure the bad outlook that puts into order that which by itself is mere chronology; into reality that what simply seems plausible; into science the purely eruditional; into truths the witticisms; into chaos the unclassifiable, and into deviant the heterodox.

We only intend to give sense to a chronology, probable and erudite, that gathers the unclassifiable and heterodox occurrences to make reality more alive, science more humane and life more free. To definitely make life into an art, and a gesture into a sound.

The text above is an introduction to the doctoral thesis "Juan Hidalgo. El sonido del gesto", defended at the University of Oviedo, Asturias, Spain in the year 2007.

For quoting this document, you are kindly requested to use the following reference:
FIGAREDO, Rubén (2009). "Juan Hidalgo - The Sound of a Gesture [el sonido del gesto]". [online article]. [Date viewed: dd/mm/yy].

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