Writing in the catalogue for Damaged Goods she states that:
Minimalism allowed for the spatialisation of experience, Numerous other contemporary discourses produce different subjects within spaces that are ideologically coded. In relations that need further elaboration. Given these preconditions, the exhibition becomes the set for a play with objects describing various possible subject positions and making the viewer spatially as well as visibly aware.
Here the act of the display's display is presented in another form. In
spite of its acuity the question that musty nonetheless still be posed to
this formulation concerns how the objects manage to sustain all their
possibilities, be they actual or potential, that are being attributed to
them? What is an object?
In approaching the problem of relation the envisaged stand between
viewer and viewed is "envisaged" in terms of the object as well as the
view. The relation that is dis-placed, brought into conflict, involves
considering the object.
With the work of Mario Merz what seems to be an igloo stands on a
wooden floor. The walls of metal, glass, wood and straw gesture towards a
possible completion. Being complete is brought into question. Of the
walls some are lit. Light passes the walls. An entry cannot be easily
made. These ineffectual walls effect a distance that brings habitation to
the fore precisely because an entry and habitation are impossible. Here,
however, there is more that gesture. Something other than a presentation
of synedoche. The question of the whole and the part and thus the
conventional strategies of naming have been checked.
Again negativity is supplanted. Merz's metal frames work to frame.
Lights attracting attention. They site housing. Citing it. It is of
course not an impossible housing. Question of function are left to one
side. Here, however, this other side is not outside. Function and all
that pertains to it are rehoused in a form that brings dwelling into
consideration. Bringing it in by the form already being a
consideration of habitation.
With this work - Rooftop Remodelling - is there an addition? Is this
modeling the parasite? An alien perching on top whose purchase allows it
to live by sucking sustenance from the host? Despite the temptation of
this mode of questioning is there not another notion of parasitism, one
which brings with it the question of history in so for as parasitism
becomes the structure of history itself? Coop Himmelblau's work insists.
There is no "world beyond", what there is exists in relation to... The
positing of what would amount to an original putative realism is thereby
rendered otiose as well as misleading. Thus all depends on the nature of
that relation. There is no essence of relation, one yielding a singular
designation beneath the multitude of relations. Relation is a site -
thereby a name for - contestation. Conflict as the site of judgment.
Works presenting the impossibility of essence; even the holding or
maintaining of the centrality of the redeemed essential.
There is a house.
The body intrudes even in the attempt to move beyond the hegemony of
the dualism enjoined and presented by the opposition between mind and body.
The intrusive body is not the mind's opposition. At stake therefore is the
retention and thus repetition of the body beyond its predicted and
predetermined constraint. A constraint that in yielding will yield
an-other constraint. Not difference but the necessary presence of the body
in its repetition. Here repetition in breaking with the Same repeats
itself - is repeated - beyond while maintaining the stance of tradition.
Mind and body. It is neither one nor the other. Difference in not
being delimited by identity will mean that it has been reinscribed.
Difference will come to be marked within the one. Not the one as opposed
to either the other or the many. The one as more than one. Synthesis not
as the unity but the irreducible more than one marking at the same time the
impossibility of a clearing and a reduction other that the tactical or
Of this body, its place coming to be experience in other terms, Helen
...consciousness is an indissoluble synthesis of our thinking selves and our physical apparatus: our body and our sensory apparatus; our body and sensory systems. It is experienced not as something solid and real, but as passing through, as motion. Fleshhood is more than mere object or image, more than assigning meaning. It is dynamic, in process, a variable exchange of relations.
The extruded body, the one driven out by the centrality of mind, that,
body will have come to cede its place to the body of intrusion. An-other
body retaining flesh thus containing the site where pleasure and power come
to be acted out.
The situation of this body is as a repetition that breaks the
dominance of metaphysics by reworking flesh. The fear within philosophy of
being abandoned can be sited here. Philosophy, the tradition, seems to
retain its fear of flesh.
The body - significant flesh - that emerges in the wake of dominance
becomes, by rebecoming, a site of pleasure. However pleasure is now that
which resists. Resistance yielding repetition. The constraint emerging in
its path is presented by the call to understand and thus the response to
repetition. It is within the confines of the response and the call that it
is possible to site the source of pleasure. An urgent erotics of need no
longer delimited by the play of Bedurfnis. Its temporality is different.
Pleasure resisting the trap of the citation of similitude - the
refusal of recitation - can only cite itself as its own site. The giving
of two that undoes the one by a presentation and reincorporation that
alters the stakes of the body. Process yielding subjectivity and
repetition cutting forgetting.
Forgetting is linked to disavowal. Here the connection involves any
attempted dismissal of the body. On the one hand images that pertain to
the body have to be denied and on the other the memory of thoughts that
concerned the body have to be forgotten. Both these strategies are the
consequence of the difficulty of dismissing the body. A difficulty posed
by the impossible possibility of forgetting.
The fixity of the object is given and withdrawn. The mark of the
withdrawal will be another giving, a further trait.
We are Siamese. What appears here, the body given again, appears in
both image and title. The problematic status of their relation must be
noted. What status is to be given to the "We" of the title? What relation
can be said to exist between the two brains? These questions despite the
appearance of a limiting specificity induced by contextualisation, raise
the problems and hence they are problems for philosophy, of identity and
Vanitas. Which self? Who? What biography is being related? Whose?
The other question concerns the relationship between these questions and
Memory is other than a trace or an inscription. What this other is
can neither be found nor mapped by a geometry of additions; not even the
dynamic geometry marking representations of the mind in which the will is
presented as seeking that which is to be represented. Seeking the already
present. Persistent memory - "my memory" - is the co-presence, perhaps
identification, of the affirmation of the self-same on the one hand and
denial of the personal on the other. Within this frame the memory, as the
site of its own memory, opens the self to a questioning that seeks to
identify the subject. Responding. What then is "my" response? What is
"my"? Questions pertaining to the life of memory, the memory of lives.
Who is the object? What has been adapted or adopted to fill and thus
to construct a life? With any life - within it - what has taken place?
The answer to this latter question is vital for the life involved, the
happening therein, thus of it, is marked, leaves its mark, and yet and at
the same time questions the very possibility of its representation. The
life's representation. The problems isolated here rely on the apparently
contradictory presence of the unique and the general. If the totality has
been presented, is it still legitimate to ask what has been presented?
After which it is possible to respond with a second question, is that all?
With Les Enfants de Dijon, of what are they monuments? With the
collection of lives are they collections given that they consist of no more
that objects? To begin it is possible to identify the posing of these
questions in the work's display. As such therefore they bring with them
the problematic stakes of presence and presentation. What is taking place
in their display? What of the display itself? What has Boltanski staged?
With works such as Lecons de tenebres, Les Ombres and in a different
way with Canada the possibility of a response is being suggested in and by
the work. There is, however, no rush. There is a naive wish for the
urgent and dramatic gesture. Here the counter exists in the actual
monumentality that is being presented. Monument as the presentation of
itself and in its self-presentation what comes to be displayed are the
complex - complexity of necessity eschewing haste distancing the premature
- stakes of monumentality. Here the shadows have a direct effect. They
cannot help but pose the question of the object. As the shadows work on
the wall thereby presenting the inherent theatricality within art - within
and with its presentation - the nature of the art object is being
dramatised. Here the dramatisation does not occur for its own sake - could
there be such a process? - it is rather that what is displayed in the
problem of giving a precise specificity to the nature of the object.
Precision works with ontology. What is precise involves a given location,
the place of the event already being and in being is thereby located. What
is there with shadows? Not in them as though the reality lay at a depth.
Here it is a question of the shadows themselves. Their presence.
Tradition. The shadow, the outline, hinders presentation by barely
presenting. The hindering, a restriction, is overcome by light. The
illumination what overcomes throws the darkness into despair by revealing
what it concealed. Tied to the movement of concealing and revealing, tied
to its language, are the further languages of light and dark, shadows and
illumination, blindness and the revelatory sight distancing the darker
realms. The rhetoric of blindness and insight. The intrusion of both
epistemology and ethics within language of light and dark should not go
unnoticed. It is itself displayed.
It is not that with these shadows there is no illumination. The wall
holding the shadows being cast- the shadow's being cast there - is not
covered by the flickering and ephemeral presence of that which will deceive
by its shadowy charm. What is being practiced here is not the art of
deception. And yet reference to and thus the allusive presence of such a
construal of art endures. Held by the wall. Present in the memory within
any presentation of shadows.
Les enfants de Dijon. The first question must concern the work. As
such a question comes to be posed; what is the object? The question is by
no means straightforward. The only initial answer is the already
determined designation of art object yielded by tradition and in turn -
though a turn always returning thereby sustaining reciprocity - yielding
its institutional presence. Its display.
Just to begin, as a question it brings with it the presuppositions
within naming itself. Sustaining with it a continual questioning of the
"itself". The limit. Staying with the elementary question and bringing
the most preliminary considerations to bear it would seem that there are a
number of different objects bearing the identical name Les Enfants de
Dijon. At the same time they are the same work. (Here same involves no
more than a simple materiality. The same pictures, lights, cables, etc.)
Installed at the Consortium in Dijon in 1985 and then at the Musee de
Grenoble in 1988 the 'work' was inside. At the Palazzo delle Prigione in
Venice and as part of the XLII Biennale it was neither inside nor outside
but marked a threshold. A point of entry and exit outside of the
conventions of display. However as part of the Biennale it had become part
of that convention's display. What is at stake therefore in remembering
the display of institutionality?