EDEN by ROBERT FREDE KENTER
Is it possible to create a small work imbued with torrential, unabated intelligence and intellect? You’d be forgiven for thinking this question would necessarily have to do with some academic trope of philosophical abstraction, or a kind of intellectual exercise to bore through the mind into a dulled brain freeze, in a self-congratulatory expression of elitism.
My question couldn’t be further removed from any academic milieu. I found myself asking this question in an old-fashioned sense; from finding myself in the presence innate, organic curiosity, born of an intellectual acuity rooted in the deepest kind of dissent; that of undeniable Being; of a sensory presence acutely perceptive of ‘otherness’, in the glorious ‘ordinariness of living’.
EDEN by Robert Frede Kenter is an unexpected universe of artistic sensibility. It’s a slim collection of a lifetime’s experience in the vascillation between an expression of self in that vista between seeming and being and the pedantic materialism of standardised social expectation. An experienced actor, filmmaker, artist and poet, Kenter invites the reader into this landscape called ‘Existence’, where blurred distinctions begin right off the page, in the almost photocopy texture of ‘reproduction’ where existentialism and nihilism meet at a crossroads.
The farce of artifice strips itself down to the bare facts of how we render ourselves in this space between relevance and obsolescence. Opening this slim volume is akin to stepping into a vast industrial space, cast in monumental, obsequious acres of cement long abandoned to itself; an echo perhaps of how we regard our souls with similar disinterest and negligence. The marvel of it, is how Kenter captures the quintessential yearning of otherness we strive for, both as creators of art, and observers of others’ artworks. We linger and stare, grapple and encircle, the very essence of what art achieves in setting us off on this inner search for meaning – we become the quest to uncover the essence of who we are or, wish to be…and it is served with irony, wit and humour.
The blur across the imagist constructs of form, might irritate some for the absence of obvious clarity of presentation and they’d be missing the point: The indistinct presentation is nothing less than the suggestiveness of life itself, wrapped in moments and memory, mostly unvarnished and mired in its own multi-universe of implication and guilt. At the epicentre of this apparent visual dis-articulation, lies the heart of the matter: EDEN – that elusive eternal otherness toward which we each strive and never attain; that space in which we breathe and hold our breath – the pavements upon which we swear never again, to the money we’ll never make and yet to which commit lifelong allegiance, to the angels upon whom we heave our dreams, to the mirage of here and now, spat back from TV screens and game shows. What do we do with the disillusion of our Here and Now? We raise prayers to unencumbered hope, looking back in rituals sung to the heavens, with the affection of Gregorian chants. A fait accompli ….
Only it never is, and this is the subtle brilliance of this poet’s conceptual dissidence. To call this collection a hybrid text is to define it too narrowly. It more like an exhibition space held together as pages in a book. It deserves a slow, thoughtful stroll. It deserves to be revisited over and over, until it becomes an old friend, from whom you glean nuggets of wisdom as you negotiate your own raw day, in the untamed space of being whomever it is you are, or become. Nothing is at it seems, not even us. Therein lies the art of Being, in all its magic of seeming.
Publisher Floodlight Editions Toronto, Ontario
ROBERT FREDE KENTER
Robert Frede Kenter is a poet, publisher and visual artist, currently residing in Toronto, Canada. He has a catalogue of widely exhibited and published work covering three decades of artistic practice and collaborative endeavour, across traditional and experimental genres and published in diverse settings. He is the Editor in Chief of ICEFLOE PRESS. Most recently he has published a hybrid collection AUDACITY OF FORM, in collaboration with New Orleans-based photographer Julia Shop and acclaimed Canadian artist, Cathy Daley, (April 4th,1955 – March 2nd, 2022) published by IceFloe Press.
POET. ESSAYIST. EDITOR. PUBLISHER
A seasoned writer and editor, of forty plus years experience in media and the arts, with a deep love of originality and artistic fearlessness.
Website INCERTAE SEDES