Monday, 21 November 2011

Whisper in the Midst of Silence

"Of what use are the great number of petrifactions, of different species, shape and form which are dug up by naturalists? Perhaps the collection of such specimens is sheer vanity and inquisitiveness. I do not presume to say; but we find in our mountains the rarest animals, shells, mussels, and corals embalmed in stone, as it were, living specimens of which are now being sought in vain throughout Europe. These stones alone whisper in the midst of general silence..."

Carolus Linnaeus
Philosophia Botanica, 1751

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Other Art Fair

Thou art more fair, though rough winds frieze.

STAND B11. C'est moi.
24th-27th November.
All new work. Bones in boxes, brains in jars. Lost souls and dead rabbits.

On my desk

The Imposter.

In a fiction of Istanbul, constructed inside an artificial Palazzo, in the gardens of the most serene theatre ever constructed by mankind, apparently floating on the grey Adriatic, I gathered dust.

Inside the labyrinth, my feet like all the others, scraped up motes that hovered briefly in the cloistered air before falling back to earth. And in a quiet corner I swept them into twists of paper and slipped them into my pocket.

Labyrinthine dust, Byzantine dust. The scurf of a million sandalled feet ground from the concrete floors of countless battered shops, strung out along endless narrow alleys that only lead you back to where you started. Builder’s dust, cement and earth and a fine sand apparently imported from the east. Grey like the dead. Soft and warm like the touch of skin. Dust that floats in the air like the call to prayer.

Unintentional dust.

When it began the corridors were clean, the floors swept, the benches littered with tools and work only just abandoned, apparently moments before. It was a place of echoes and reflections but of a purpose; a living space from which only the occupants were missing.

But then the visitors arrived and wandered from room to room and wondered, and left their marks. And the decay set in, the feet scratched and the dust rose, and began to settle. And now it is as if the passage of thousands of feet have accelerated time and deposited the dust of generations in only a matter of months. What was once a moment frozen in time has become Time itself – the medium in which History is enacted and all our cultures bloom like mould. 

What we see is what we are. This is the house we make believe, whose windows all face inwards. This is the house of control and construction where secret rules prompt private fantasies and all appears exactly as it might be. This world is merely a fragile shell suspended, like our disbelief, inside another fragile shell, inside another fragile shell.

Friday, 18 November 2011

La Serenissima

Christian Boltanski in the French Pavilion at the Biennale.

and A Church Of Fear v The Alien Within - Schlingensieff in the German Pavilion.

and above all Mike Nelson's I Imposter in the British Pavilion. Glorious.

I gathered some of the accidental dust from the floor in a few twists of paper. A sacred powder perhaps. With existentially medicinal properties no doubt. 

An Elixir! 
Nelson's Powders

Gregor Samsa had nothing on this.

Frieze 2011 - Shot on the fly
(Warning: this movie really is not worth looking at)


(Murmur, murmur, murmur)
Woman: How much can you zoom in?
More Pause...
Woman: Is that as far as you can zoom in?
Man: Yeahyeahyeah
Woman: It's going to run away now.


Duration: 50secs

... Ooh look!

De profundis...

The present is a foreign country – they do things differently there - where you are. I however am some months behind. There is no time like the past. It is a territory, a terroir, a forest which can be explored. And in that forest the rotten core of events, like fallen timbers, can be turned over to show the insects that prop them up. The light can be readjusted - a low light just so, to enhance the mood, or a high shower flickering through leafless fingers to reveal the truth, a truth, or a fiction.

The roots may clutch, but time fosters fondness like a good fungus.
Decay also breeds love.