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All is history

Elements of All is history were developed in 2012 and 2015.

‘On my very last day in Kyoto, I sat at the bank of Kamogawa River, with my gaze concentrated on a stone positioned in the middle of it. Nearby, a crane paraded looking for fish, and as the river flowed the stone remained intact. “You cannot enter the same river twice” as Heraclitus concluded, but this simple comparison was not satisfactory. At that time it seemed to me the stone remained intact as much as the river remained suspended in its own flow. But on the following day, on the plane, I remembered the river, the stone and the crane, and it all seemed history then, my history.’ (2012)

The construction of the work is so its elements inform one another and the hidden narrative is not easy to follow. This arduously penetrable quality is an important aspect of the language the project creates.

The installation (neon, stone and video projection) seems to only reaffirm Heraclitus’ statement but some of its elements (the blue colour of the neon and the fact the water is projected onto the stone) suggest this understanding of time and history is but a surface. It would all be rather simple if not two works placed together in the second part of the project: a contact print of two negatives stuck together and a slide projection. Here lays a certain contradiction as the blue colour repeated throughout the work (this time through a positive photographic image of the empty blue sky) refers to the opposite things at each occasion: in the first room to the s u r f a c e (of water) and in the second room to the b a s e of everything: the spirit. This blue is particular to the moment and to the person who sees it (as any colour). It cannot be repeated; it changes and disappears with time.

The stone and the river became history because they became the artist’s history (it is not a metaphor but an experience which is presented to the audience). History is an experience, and experience is by nature individual. All the elements of the project are dividing history into individual, particular experiences: the history of the physical photographic material, of the presented people to whose history we are not admitted or of political ideologies, etc. Thus the installation of the first part of the project might be a representation of the history of the artist but in reality, it is the first step into our own history.

All is history constructs a unique visual language ‘in which what is experienced is language itself'[1], or to be precise, history itself. It is, paraphrasing Agamben, an experimentum linguae of this kind in which the limits of language [history] are to be found not outside it, in the direction of its referent [lack of historical data], but in an experience of language [history] as such, in its pure self-reference.
The work of art is always an experience and as such, it can only exist in the moment of the present. All is history, but art is always necessarily the present. And consequently, art is capable of turning everything into history, as in a way the neon statement ‘All is history’ is turning everything and anything, history included, into a readymade.

-2015

[1] Agamben, G. (2007) Infancy and history: on the destruction of experience. Verso: London New York

All is history

(2012) neon 25x75 cm

All is history

(2012) installation: stone, HD Video

In memory

(2013) photographic slide, projector

All is history

(2015) silver gelatine fibre based prints, dimension variable

All is history

(2015) archival pigment prints, dimensions variable