TOWARDS JOY2015Five lightboxes
2470(w) mm x 1640(h) mm, 65(d) mm.
This piece is called Towards Joy. In what sense do these images represent a journey towards happiness?
The title describes an ongoing attempt to overcome a feeling of melancholy and nostalgia. It describes a journey from “being haunted” by the past moving towards “being present” in the present moment. This feeling of “being present” is what I always experience when I am in motion and I’m looking through a window from a train, in the car. I used to archive all sort of travelling when I was in Argentina in the late 90s. I think this passion of “being in the movement” and capturing this moment comes also from that time. It is always for me a question regarding our relation to time.
What is the subject portrayed in this series?
This series of five light boxes continues the work I started in 2004 called Nowherelands. The series and each image itself apprehend what I call “in-betweenness”: in-between abstraction and reality, in-between still and movement. These photographs were taken on a journey to the house of my father in the South of France, when I took the decision to sell it after his death. What we see here are brunches and trunks that intertwine like those of the Banyan tree, one of the most venerated trees in India mentioned in many scriptures as a tree of immortality. They represent what I call ramification or rami-fiction, a vision of the world that doesn’t recognize a single origin – intended as reality – but conceives the world as a circular movement, an outgrowth and overlap of beliefs.
Why did you choose to present these photographs as light boxes?
Technically the object itself is a series of lines of LED light. When we look at it we don’t exactly know where the light comes from. This gives a sense of autonomy to the image; it doesn’t depend on external lighting. In certain images, like those painted by Rembrandt and Caravaggio, we have the feeling that they managed to have the light coming from inside the painting. This technique allows us to reproduce a similar effect creating a trouble in defining what exactly are we looking at; are they paintings? Are we looking at photography? Are we looking at something that exists in the world or is that pure movement?
The first time you presented this piece was in Leipzig as part of the Europa/Eutopia installation. Can you explain how does Towards Joy relate to this narrative?
The five images were set on different walls in the 1000 square meters exhibition space. I decided to present them with this series of works as part of my research on recreating and inhabiting the vertigo of the 21st century, a space and time of disconnection where what is moving is not moving and vice versa. The brunches appearing in the light-boxes, the video pieces, the autumn leaves, the cut trunks and the running sound shape what I define as “second nature”, a fragmented nature, whose elements appear disconnected. It’s this disconnection that put us in a vertiginous position with regards to borders, identities and categories. The second reason why this piece has been presented as part of this exhibition has to do with “movement”. The movement starting from the melancholy of delusion and going towards a “new present”, towards the reconstruction of a sense of future. This was the core of this installation. How do we relate to this ongoing sadness that the 20Th century has left in Europe? How do we rebuild a post-melancholic relation to the European space? This is the movement that we have to work on as Europe and as society.