"The Garden of Oblivion" by Victor Stamp

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Víctor Stamp

Não sou nada.
Nunca serei nada.
Não posso querer ser nada.
À parte isso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo.
                     —Álvaro de Campos, Tabacaria

Victor Stamp first saw the light of day on April 22, 1957, roughly 20,000 kilometres from where it was initially agreed he would see it. By some cosmic equivocation he was born not in Paris or West Berlin but in Cygnet, a picturesque coastal township (population ~900) in the Huon Valley region of southern Tasmania.

Stamp, who once sardonically defined himself as ‘the reprobate child of a presbyopic Presbyterian and a dentist’s daughter’, was haunted from an early age by the dream of a mythical Europe. Against all odds he defied genetic and social determinism, avoided the siren call of dentistry, and proved himself a poet and artist from a tender age: in an interview with Marc Ronceraille he recounts how at age fourteen, while on a trip to Hobart with his parents, he purchased a second-hand copy of the Penguin Poets edition of Mallarmé that changed his life forever. From the outset, however, this infatuation with the glacial infinities of pure poetry collided heavily with the hum and the drum of daily life in a dull little part of the world where, to quote a not-so-recent guidebook, ‘the main attractions include watching the wood-turner at The Deepings make lawn bowls.’

In 1977, after failing to graduate in anything, he set sail for the Old World, never to return. Over the following fifteen years and before devoting himself solely to his artistic activity, his autodidactic genius would stand him in good stead as he embarked upon a variety of enterprises, for all of which he lacked the slightest qualification.

Victor Stamp is convinced that beyond this brief biographical skeleton, the less that is known about him the better. Nevertheless he is willing to divulge that his favourite colour is grey, his favourite metal lead, and his preferred quality in a woman, broad shoulders.

When not planning and executing his modest artistic interventions, he can be found energetically pounding the avenues and boulevards of the great European cities, dissolving his reflection in the shop windows with the mute interrogation of the merchandise, stopping rarely and buying nothing.




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