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 stone and the river became history because they became the artist’s history (it is not a metaphor, like in the case of Heraclitus’s statement, but rather an experience presented to the audience). History is an experience, and experience is in its nature individual. All the elements of the project are dividing history into individual, particular experiences: the history of the photographic material, of the presented people to whose history we are not admitted or of political ideologies, etc. This division is, however not systematised, as in any historiographic framework, but replaced by an arrangement of numbered units which become symbols of the archive and its failure, and of usual ways of reading and writing history. The installation is 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’, or to be precise, history itself. It is, paraphrasing Agamben, an experimentum linguae of this kind in which the limits of history are to be found not outside it, in the direction of its referent (lack of historical data), but in an experience of history as such, in its pure self-reference.
The work of art has always form of an experience and as such, it can only exist in the moment of the present. ‘All is history’, however, art is necessarily in the present. And consequently, art is capable of turning everything into history, as the neon statement ‘All is history’ is turning, in a way, anything into a readymade.
Michal Martychowiec, 2015