Mark Manders, Nocturnal Garden Scene, 2005.
MM: Three different ideas come together in this work. It first began in about 1998 with a simple wish. The idea of making a wish is of course a useful tool for an artist, and when you make a wish it does not matter in the slightest whether you could ever make it come true. For instance, you wish that you could open up your chest easily and painlessly and watch your heart pumping. In this case, I wanted to put down two objects—two cups, for instance—in exactly the same spot on a table. That is physically impossible of course, but the idea, the wish that I could put two objects in the same place, stayed on my mind.
Another thing that has occupied my thoughts for some years now is the slack rope. At any moment, there are slack ropes hanging in many parts of the world, and I think it is an incredibly lovely, melancholy phenomenon. The curve of a slack rope as it hangs is just beautiful. A few years ago I devised a plan to hang a slack rope in the most tense place in the world. The two ideas I have just told you about came together when I decided to put a cat in the same place as a slack rope. The only way to accomplish this was by having the slack rope hung between the two halves of the body of a cat that was divided in two. If I had cut the rope in half, it would not have been a slack rope any more, but a cat divided in two is still a cat. Then I turned this still life into a nocturnal garden scene, like a three-dimensional photograph. I like the way the darkness in this scene captures light.
I do not see this as a violent scene. To me it has more to do with melancholy and silence. The difference in tension between the three ropes in this night scene is very beautiful. For me, it is not important if the viewer grasps the train of thought that lies behind this work. The story of how this sculpture came about is ultimately irrelevant to whatever power it may have. The work has now been set up in the world as a fait accompli, and operates as an image. I am sure it will mean something different to each viewer. One of the nice things about a sculpture is that you can look at it for just a few seconds and then carry it away in your mind, sometimes for the rest of your life, as a mental photograph. Sometimes I try to make sculptures that are almost impossible to carry away in your mind.
Simone Menegoi (ed.) & Cristiano Raimondi (ed.)
LE SILENCE Une fiction gathers a corpus of contemporary works by 25 artists, ranging from Arman’s Accumulations to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs, and together they present a world that is both strange and familiar, what curator Simone Menegoi refers to as “the story of a planet that has become uninhabitable for reasons unknown….” Part scientific experiment, part fictional narrative, the effect of these traces that our civilisation leaves behind is one of a reversal of history, as if the works between the pages, artifacts of our contemporary era, are being observed through the eyes of an archaeologist or anthropologist from the future.
from Mack Books
This is a beautifully realised project, taking a collection of artefacts and images and working them into a narrative that speaks of loss, fear and a great yawning uncertainty which we are all starting to become aware of, but perhaps Timothy Morton has thought through more than most in his work on hyperobjects, strange strangers and dark ecology.
It reminds me, at least partly, of another collection of images, Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures, which seems to have emerged from the same unconscious gnawing but gone in an entirely different direction. I’m also reminded of Chris Marker’s La Jetée, at least in the short text at the beginning, and it’s strange relations between a fearful, fictional future and an imagined past which we are yet to experience.
There’s a lot to be thought through here, in this strange apparatus of narrative around the images, and it’s also a superbly curated and produced work, which unlike most printed items that relate to exhibitions, feels at least as worthwhile as visiting the show it relates to. Highly recommended.