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"Flores; abismo; parataxis"; (or how to disrupt the background-foreground dialectics behind image and text). 2012. La Casa Encendida. Madrid, Spain.
Works by: Persijn Broersen & Margarit Lukács / José Díaz / Johan Eldrot / Haris Epaminonda / Karlos Gil/ Josué Rauscher / John Stezaker / Miguel Ángel Tornero / Isabelle Vernay-Levêque
(Catalogue excerpt)
A. It is 1974 and David Hildebrand Wilson is taking a stroll in the countryside. After walking for a while he notices a small mountain stream and decides to set up his 16mm camera. He probably mounts the tripods on wheels or rails and then points the zoom lens at the stream until all he can see in the viewfinder is a small portion of water and a wire fence. For the next 13 minutes he films "Stasis", slowly zooming out until the surface of the water becomes a river, and the river becomes just another feature of a wider landscape. A few days later, back in the darkroom, David painstakingly cuts out, from every single shot, the portion of water and fence corresponding to the initial frame. He will then, methodically, enlarge the images until they fit the standard screen area. The result is an eight-minute film in which the image of the water slowly and imperceptibly dissolves into texture and grain.
(Catalogue excerpt)
D. In 2002 Jacques Rancière imagines a flat surface from the study in his apartment. He describes it as a surface of dissociation and de-figuration rather than the historical evidence of a technique or method that has finally been conquered. For Rancière, words no longer prescribe what images should be, as a history or doctrine: rather, words are images themselves, redistributing the figures in the picture, activating that surface of exchange, that surface of forms and signs which constitutes the true medium of painting―a medium that is not identified with pertaining to a material process but to a method of knowledge. Earlier that day, Jacques has written on his word processor that the bond between painting and the third dimension is a bond between painting and the poetic power of words and fables.
(Catalogue excerpt)
6. In 1836 two British publishers, Chapman and Hall, are issuing a collection of comic strips, by the illustrator Robert Seymour, on the misadventures of an East London gentleman’s club. After contacting several authors to no avail, they finally retain the services of a young man named Dickens, whom they ask to compose brief phrases and remarks to accompany the illustrations, in keeping with the genre’s tradition. Charles rarely sticks to the strips provided and gradually imposes his own narrative for Seymour to illustrate afterwards. By shifting the focus of the drawings to the story, the young author turns a popular fiction genre of the day, essentially based on satirical illustrations, into a new kind of novel about London life. The last of the 20 instalments that made up The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club is published a year and a half later, and all of them will subsequently be compiled as the first novel of Charles Dickens
(Catalogue excerpt)
G.1. At one point José Díaz turns to his computer, opens his browser and types in the URL of a site for streaming movies. He is then confronted to the CAPTCHA system, designed to tell José from a machine, and compiles a list of grammatical contractions that he later uses as titles for his paintings.
(Catalogue excerpt)
9. In the summer of 2010, Rosa Lleó and Zaida Trallero opened the show "Everything Is Out There" in Room B at La Casa Encendida. Among other works, the exhibition featured "Tarahi II" by the Cypriot artist Haris Epaminonda. While setting up the show, Rosa and Zaida decided to take a break and wander over to the opposite room to see what their colleague and fellow curator was preparing. There they find the artist Carlos Fernández-Pello organising tokens on a table. For reasons unknown even to himself, Carlos never visits Zaida an Rosa's exhibition, and two years later the same work is (accidentally?) exhibited in the same location.
(Catalogue excerpt)
H.0. [...] flores; abismo; parataxis (flowers; abyss; parataxis) posits that the meaning of things stems from an affective insignificance, from an abyss into which language and image plummet in parallel, whose common denominator is always the experiences of the subject that rescues, interweaves or disfigures them. But it is also a mechanism of pictorial knowledge, of categories within categories which, in the process of connecting everything to everything, paradoxically become stranger and break up into new sets of difference. In this respect, the selected works strive to distinguish the similar and confuse the disparate, to shrink and expand a pictorial tradition that would have no connection to the illusion of space if not for the fact that words are also things. Parataxis is a literary technique that favours the coordinated use of short phrases. A life preserver is a contraction floating in the vast expanse of the sea.
(Catalogue excerpt)
F.5. Seduced by the ingenious ruses of the imaginary collection of paintings described in Perec's book, "A Gallery Portrait", in 1982 Isabelle Vernay-Lèvêque paints Heinrich Kürz’s picture as a fictitious commission. She tries to create something as close as possible to the description provided in the book, although her version differs from Perec’s in two inevitable aspects: the limited number of successive “pictures within pictures”, and the inclusion of a mirror in which the painter is reflected. Perec himself, upon seeing the painting, confirmed the infinite number of symbolic and structural relationships that she had intuited in the rest of his work. He would die early after that.
(Catalogue excerpt)
K. But a chain of flowers is also a chain of nothing; a form of discussing that exhibition which defies all discussion; of resisting the word’s power of illustration and return it to the profound, chaotic equality that reigns out there, in the wild. A chain of flowers is to equate the works in a catalogue with the works in a gallery, without subordinating any reflection or theoretical canon. A chain of flowers can be a tongue twister that reminds us that words are also forms almost before they are ideas and concepts: forms of the tongue and mouth, of the lips and throat, but also of the eyes and ears, of memory and fingertips, of hands and gesture. Works of art are not necessarily objects in a gallery, not even concepts in the mind, but formless formations, performances, that twist what we know and remind us of the contingent nature of experience. They give us the beauty of being on the verge of the incomprehensible; of confusing figure and background, past and future; of repeating a never-ending story time and time again. Every flower is that useless precious detail, that imperceptible anecdote in the abyss.