FORM OF ABSENCE, CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM, TAMPA, FLORIDA 2013
“But the imagination is as vast as the universe multiplied by all the thinking beings who inhabit it. It is the first come Among all things, interpreted by the first to come; and, if this last has not the soul that sheds a magical and super-natural light on the natural obscurity of things, then the imagination is a horribly useless thing; it is the first come contaminated by the first to come. Here, therefore, there is no longer analogy, if not by chance; but on the contrary murkiness and contrast, a multicolored field through the absence of a regular culture.”
“…[in the dream] The secret of how to get inside of the object so as to rearrange how it looked was as simple as opening the door of a wardrobe. Perhaps it was merely a question of being there when the door swung open on its own. Yet when I woke up, I couldn’t remember how it was done and I no longer knew how to get inside of things.” John Berger: Steps Towards a Small Theory of the Invisible. 2001
The process begins with radiography in situ; spaces and artifacts are imaged using a portable x-ray device. The x-ray image, as a first-tier index, releases certain identifiable attributes and opens internal structures for the investment of reformed narratives. Oil relief paintings are made over the x-rays and then the paintings are x-rayed. The layered composite is reconstructed as a mold for casting the sculpture/enfolded reliquaryi. All images are full-scale (1 to 1).The enfolded reliquary does not house the—whole—original object nor does it necessarily have a space within in order to hold any ‘thing’, the object is enfolded into the reliquary; the reliquary becomes the object and projects analogy rather than mimesis. The reliquaries (in this sense an image is a reliquary) ultimately manifest as full-scale interventions into a newly charged context, bringing with them a collapsed then unfolded history – non-mimetic.
The collective ‘body’, the outcome, can be experienced as parts or as an interconnected experience. How that experience is shaped depends on the—altered—context in which the collective body is resituated – where it intervenes. The image is the primary source, a genesis of sorts. The radiograph (x-ray) creates an immediate indexical morphology, removing representational information while revealing a certain spatial “form of absence” that can be construed—unfolded and enfolded—thus reshaping one’s perceptual position to both outcome and its history.
Form of Absence is dually “site specific”; the work is gathered from one site—the origin—and restructured relative to its new transformative site/space of installation.
Form of Absence, 2013, at the USF Contemporary Art Museum: curated by Robert M. MacLeod; exhibition images by Will Lytch/GraphicStudio; funding by The Contemporary Art Museum/Institute for Research in Art/GraphicStudio and the USF School of Architecture. The artist would like to thank Margaret Miller, Don Fuller, Will Lytch, Taylor Pilote, Ireno Cabreros, Mike Calvino, Trace Gainey, Jose Suarez, Mathew Barrentine, Aline Constantinides, and Juan Ferreira.
i The enfolded reliquary is a reliquary whose artifact is, via enfolding, embedded into the object rather than held within. The artifact and its container are considered synthetically. A reliquary is typically seen as a vessel or container holding a meaningful artifact – a relic. The container and its contents often have no real intrinsic relationship to each other, however the relic has meaning that escapes the container and assumes a narrative form in the minds of those who find the artifact important; the reliquary creates a connection by virtue of mediation. Loosely (but perhaps not so) a building is a reliquary, as is a sculpture or a painting. Analogs. All hold within their body processes (and stories) and in accordance to how they are experienced there is a potential connective space between the object and one who is present in its space. The enfolded reliquary is more a material body whose purpose is to reveal its making and its contents by virtue of enfolding its history, and the history of its making, until both container and object are found to be one.