Pedro Meral writes an artistic and literary painting in The Missing Year | Muhammad Al-Hamamisy

In his novel, as short as it is powerful, “The Missing Year”, Argentine novelist and poet Pedro Meral explores the relationship between art and life through the life of his father, Juan Salvatierra, who used art as the only means to express. his vision of the world, and refused to exhibit his work during his lifetime. Where his sons Miguel (the narrator) and Luis happened to stop, and after their mother’s funeral in front of his cabin, “we entered, asked permission from the ghost of Salvatierra, as if the place were a temple. The rolls of cloth were there, hung carefully from the rafters of the roof. We counted them. There were more than sixty rolls … a life.” The whole Raja … all his days are there wrapped up and hidden.”

The novel translated by the poet Ashraf Al-Qarqani and published by the Maskiliani Publishing House is based on a wonderful artistic, literary and pictorial painting, in which the river is of great importance, as a scene of movement: the river that Argentina and Argentina separate. Uruguay and the game of art, the painting – the river, and the river is life, the human river with all its secrets and the lives of its contradictory creatures The river separates lies from truth, between friendly memory and the painful discovery of the mysterious and hidden, between a past and a future different from what we remember and what was expected.

At the age of nine, Juan Salvatierra is left alone, isolated and silent, after being involved in a horse accident during a picnic with his cousins. He comes out shattered, so the alcoholic doctor finds no way out for him but to leaving boxes of watercolors. After he recovered, he lost the ability to speak, became mute and began to draw. To be separated from the family business, at the age of twenty he burned what he had drawn in his childhood and adolescence, and while he work. in the post office, he went every morning to where his wife Helena Ramirez works in the neighborhood library to read about the lives of great painters and look for books that include pictures and engravings, to begin Secretly he has a series many long painted rolls of canvas on which he meticulously recorded his life and that of a coastal town; Night and day scenes.

On a delicate emotional tapestry, and by reviewing the very long painting of his father, Miguel evokes his relationship with his father and the family’s past and his own. He soon discovers that his father’s work contains much more than he knows and remembers. Then he begins an investigation among Barrancalis’ neighbors, his family and his father’s associates in search of a missing scroll, which provokes harsh, frowning and sometimes hostile reactions.

The painting left by Juan Salvatierra in a hut used as an abandoned workshop on the bank of a river on the border with Uruguay, where the family lives, is a large mural covering almost four kilometers of rolls of canvas which he painted in secret until the day of his death. After discovering that part of it is missing, Miguel delves into the mysteries of his father/artist past on an adventure that will lead him, from Argentina to Uruguay, to reconstruct his family’s true history and rethink his life.

Miguel, narrator-divorcee, real estate agent with one son, is more interested than his brother Luis in rescuing and confiscating the gigantic unsigned painting, which, apart from its pictorial uniqueness, is the true guide to essential and unexpected data, intimate to find memoirs. , autobiographies or personal chronicles of the entire existence of an artist and father. Aziz lived alone, somewhat opaque and overwhelming, perhaps because of his silence.

The novel, which constitutes a work of art that flows like a stream in a sweet river, with its poetic images loaded with the human lives of its artist, Juan Salvatierra, which has 126 pages, and has received many readings. Your balance, and you continue in the river of story, drawn by the sound of the current, away from your room, from your table and chair and desk lamp, as you row after the narrator (the son Miguel) in search of the lost sketchbook. trek through Argentinian villages, meet fishermen and smugglers, walk along muddy rivers and take a ferry Quietly in the dark before you realize you’re looking for a poem by Pedro Meral that your eyes wrote on the road as you read.

He added, “A mute painter, who does not appear in his own drawings, nor does a portrait of him exist in its entirety, who does not communicate with an audience and does not speak to critics. He even refused to annul the effectiveness of the appeal against him, the absence of which nullifies the utterance when the utterance itself is annulled.”

And here Juan Salvatierra falls from his horse, loses the ability to speak and ends up in total silence like the great mystics Juan remains an empty bracket, the scroll of 1961 that forms an essential link to the completion of the tape of his drawings were not where they were supposed to be. The painter is out of time And his scroll is out of place. Two moments are needed for the complete formation of the system of forgetting systems. Perhaps this explains Juan’s lack of interest in his works to sign. Since the signature is the seal that proves the originality of the name, its absence would “cause genetic unrest that does not generate orphanhood, but rather other problems such as engraftment.” This dynastic turmoil, revealed as clearly as possible after the river conversation between Che and Leibniz, showed that the seal, like the name, is not only a mark but a genealogical relationship, a lack when we reveal its secrets try to decipher, it will not lack the pretenses it destroys to continue sheltering in its mysteries: We force him to appear.”

Perhaps this explains the tragic fate of the qaif at the end of the narrative. The hut burned, along with miles of cloth, and between the tongues of flames Friedrich Nietzsche’s sentence danced in the flames: “The greatest achievement of the greatest Illuminati is no more than that they freed themselves from metaphysics and then with the eyes of a superior when they look at something behind them, while they must, here as well as in a field.” Horse racing, to complete the course until they return to the starting point to reach the end of the race.

And Abdul Qadir explained that, in light of this statement, was it a coincidence that Juan Salvatierra lost his speech after falling from the horse’s back? And the rescue of the scroll in 1961 coincided with the burning of the Barrancales hut, was that a coincidence? Doesn’t that bring us back to point zero?.. The matter was settled by fire in a strange exchange with fate, similar to the copying of the sacred verses. Tons of fabric lost for one roll saved. Religiously, the matter took place according to the mechanism of the abrogator and the abrogated. Philosophically, according to what George Bataille calls the “principle of destruction”, since the accursed part cannot eliminate the forces of concealment and prohibition, except with such symbolic expenditure that is close to the ritual of sacrifice. For this a heavy price had to be paid to lift the ban on the secret of 1961, no less than to waste the effort of 60 years of sign. The funny thing though is that the loss of that effort will become the horizon that won’t stop being mentioned without the end of the effect being better than any other effect.

And the funniest of all is that the Brancalis fire did not come on mere painting rolls, but rather on the original without which it is impossible to believe the truth of the 1961 roll.

Excerpt from the novel

We saw part of the canvas depicting the racehorses, nervous before galloping, reined and reared, but with a tense look like fierce beasts gracefully on the tips of their hooves. Then the moment of introduction itself appeared when the readers seemed to want to jump out of the drawing… A chestnut horse, a golden mare, another horse, a fiery brown and gray speckled, that with a white light in the sun shines They all erupted like fountains at the gate, their large and menacing bodies like bulls in the first cave paintings. Their tiny passengers cling to their backs, completely unable to control their unbridled power.

When we got to about five meters, we had to move the improvised scaffolding. And it was very tiring. Although we were careful to remain discreet, the commotion of furniture being moved seemed to be heard from miles away. We spent the whole evening like this. Blisters began to spread over my hands. Our shoulders and necks became heavier by holding our forearms above our heads all the time. I was thirsty and went out to look for water. I went to the kitchen but couldn’t find anything. No power was cut off from the house.

We tried to pull the nails out by pulling the fabric together. But it didn’t work. Rather, he contributed to the tearing of the cloth. So we had to uproot them one by one. We push the chandelier to slide between the nail and the wall. Then we press hard until the nail pushes out with a slight noise before it settles on the floor tiles. We came to a section of the drawing that showed a woman with bright eyes that looked familiar to me. I asked Louis to give me his lighter. I found the flame near the cloth. Then I looked.

This woman was my father’s colleague at the post office.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m sure of this.”

Eugenia Racamora, painted by Remembrance, was naked in one of the secret bedroom beds in Barrancales. The afternoon sun broke through the hatch and fell on her young hips.

“I met her the other day. It’s the woman I told you about. She’s the one who gave me a tour of the post office.”

There were more photos of Eugenia Rackamura. Although her face was not always visible. It was easy to get to know her. Sometimes she slept with her auburn hair spilling on the leaves. Elsewhere, she read a book while lying naked in the white light that streamed into adjoining rooms. Although it was one place repeated from different angles, Salvatierra painted it as if it were a house with many rooms inside.. the house for the siesta he spent with that woman.

I think we were both surprised that neither of us had the slightest doubt that this romance existed. I think my mother discovered it too, but she made sure to put an end to it. There was no doubt that Salvatierra had an affair with Eugenia Racamora, probably in 1961, the same year this piece was painted. It seemed clear that this was not an imaginary matter, but rather scenes drawn shortly after their appearance, day after day, as if it were a diary for the nap period.

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