Five questions for J.Karl Bogartte
J. Karl Bogartte could be the reincarnation of Lestat de Lioncourt, what with the smoky-lensed round glasses he hides behind, not to mention his languishing locks of silver hair and his black-on-black clothing. Is this an act to attract attention? A disguise? Who is this chap, J. Karl?
Did I mention you dwell in a huge brick space that formerly housed industry with two enormous Irish Wolfhounds? I hate to tell you this, but I just gave my collection of Borge writings to Boswell Books. Damn. How can you, a poet and visual artist, stand living in a world where words are so abused? I’m just saying…
Most things are abused, but that certainly makes for a tremendous amount of raw material for conjuring up incredible possibilities. I dislike acceptable things and acceptable ways of thinking. Living in an industrial building, for example, with Wolfhounds … well, that seems so natural to me and yet is wonderfully unacceptable. Besides, those hounds need plenty of space.
Too bad about the Borges books; I would have enjoyed them.
Hey, were you a member of that group of poets that Kent Mueller was involved in? Whatsits name?
Goal Zero, I believe, was the name of that group. No, I wasn’t involved in it at all. During that time I was a part of the Chicago surrealist group, and spent more time down there.
I did spend some time there, yes, but not at all influenced by what they had on display. I was off on another adventure altogether. I have never thought of my work as being gloomy or doomed; dark, absolutely — although, as I recall, you once mentioned the “gem-like” quality of my earlier work, the black and white photo-morphs. The thing is, since 2000 when I discovered color, I think the new work is quite revealing and brighter. Well, I think what happens in my work is the synthesis that occurs, between light and dark, between the real and the imaginary. More accurately, there is that dialectic between opposites that resembles a dance more than anything, between what is real and what is possible. This produces very complex imagery, I think.
In true surrealist fashion, I consider my images as windows through which the viewer can look, to catch glimpses of what they themselves are nudged into seeing according to their own desires. If one is engaged in some form of art, that to me would be the most compelling reason for doing it…the Duchampian aspect of the viewer completing the work.
The language you speak on Facebook is so heavily laden with obscure references that I don’t see how you attract replies. But you do. Is obscurity the point of it all?
Facebook! Yes, I was talked into joining by a close friend of mine who told me that everyone I knew was already on there. Well, as it turned out he was right, and then some. Many people I know from Europe and South America were there already and many new collaborations are in the works. One meets people of every persuasion and one can say many unusual things. It is a great place to experiment with identity. It isn’t obscurity, but rather an attempt to attain a state of clarity.
Now tell me about the books you’re writing. Give the readers something to chew on…who knew you are also a writer?
Yes, I write, and have written most of my life. I’ve only recently gotten into it enough to actually want to publish. I just finished my third book of prose poems, Luminous Weapons, which should be available on Amazon any day now. I have written a novella called Antibodies with illustrations by Alejandro Puga, a well-known Argentine poet and artist, which may come out later this year. There is also my first book of poems coming out and I am planning a book of my visual art …so I guess I’ve been very busy.