11.NOV.2006   20.JAN.2007



GARETH JAMES- Dead Unconscious Desire
“What is architecture? According to Adolf Loos: ‘When walking through a wood, you find a rise in the ground, six feet long and three feet wide, heaped up in a rough pyramid shape, then you turn serious, and something inside you says: Someone lies buried here. That is architecture.’ In this definition, architecture is recognized first by the affect it produces, an affect that has nothing in common with those one seeks out on playgrounds or in Luna Parks: you turn serious, hearing the tell tale notes of a sort of Et in Arcadia ego that makes one think that something invisible is present, or rather that one perceives an absence, evoking someone not living here, or rather someone here, not living. As if there were a house not made to be lived in, nobody’s house, a house for nobody. Architecture, for Loos, begins with a dwelling that lacks an address.”
Dennis Hollier, Against Architecture

The problem of art is not a problem of content (a problem of answering the question of what it is that art should be about, nor the question of whether art in particular has anything to say). The problem of art is the problem of materials. Art has plenty to say about the world, and the world has recently given us much to talk about. But materials … materials on the other hand are a rapidly depleting resource. The problem of art is the same as the problems of the rest of the world. Of course. The problem of art is only compounded by the fact that good artwork exhausts its materials in the act of its manifestation. There should be nothing left, left to be the object of accumulation, to be capitalized – neither by the artist herself, nor a third party. As Michel de Certau says of the Tactician, versus the Strategician: she cannot keep what she wins. Materials can speak up for themselves, both in their emergence and in their obsolescing, but are prone to fall silent in between – which is when the capitalist shows up. Saying the wrong things brings you into difficult relations with a government, a monarch, or a religion. Having the wrong things (or having nothing at all) brings you into difficult relations with the Law. Materials have difficult relations with the police. For both Marx and Heidegger, the problem was the tendency for thinking and doing to be reified into having – a problem of ownership. Capital has only intensified this problem since then: to the point that property relations have entirely permeated the visual. The problem of art is how to be Realist with the police around. "Realist means: laying bare society's causal network/showing up the dominant viewpoint as the viewpoint of the dominators/writing from the standpoint of the class which has prepared the broadest solutions for the most pressing problems afflicting human society/emphasizing the dynamics of development/concrete and so as to encourage abstraction." Bertolt Brecht, The Popular and the Realistic. This is how the problem of art, becomes the thought of topology. The problem of drawing on a piece of paper is not what to draw, but the fact that it has two sides. Topology, for Jacques Lacan, is the Real of structure with grammar peeled off. Brecht’s apparently paradoxical formulation – concrete so as to encourage abstraction – is thinking topologically. If social reality itself, generates abstractions which are central to the manner in which it reproduces itself, then these abstractions are not merely analytical, but real material entities, upon which the legibility of representation depends. Production of representations without abstraction produces dwellings that lack an address. DEAD UNCONSCIOUS DESIRE is an exhibition built on abstractions disguised as pictures, or as language. They include such things as Glass and graffiti, Contract and omerta, Netting and grandine, Tombs, The Tree Line, Squatters in the park and in parking spaces, Guerra siempre al estado, Limbo, and I lived here where Paradise and Hell meet together. These things are maintained inside the work, but maintained there as external. That is to say, that they are not employed as subjects of the work (where the work is a surface upon which the subject writes itself) but as forces, as forces which warp the direction and tendencies of the work (I could say that it is in a manner similar to how the gravity of objects causes the curvature of space-time). What each of these things share, is difficult relations with representation. The practice of omerta is a refusal to make full representation; the tombs of Torino’s cemetery have difficulty reaching their intended referent, or we could think about the tree line as the line at which trees can no longer write themselves on a surface of inscription too inhospitable for such a subject. Now we find that the Vatican has chosen to reconsider whether Limbo in fact existed after all. Given that the current pope stated (after having been appointed by John Paul the 2nd to lead the discussion) that he felt that the notion of Limbo was an archaism seems to guarantee its disappearance, despite the tremendous strain that this puts the representations of heaven and hell under. A representation with no material support. What a striking re-evaluation! Gareth James, November 2006

CESARE PIETROIUSTI - A performance with Gareth James
I thought of some works on the subject of not understanding. I would like to try and describe out loud, on a tape, all the things that, in the space of a day, I do not understand: a word uttered by someone in a hurried manner or in another language, an unjustified mark on the pavement, an unexpected behaviour, a shapeless silhouette seen out of the corner of my eye and then lost, a strange taste in my mouth... I would also like to record and then re-listen to various people trying to describe the things they consider as being the most inexplicable about their existence or the human condition in general. Things that are so obviously impossible to understand, that one does not even question them anymore. One day I would like to participate in an exhibition that is very difficult to understand, whose meaning is illustrated by artists who speak while being cooped up in cars parked outside the gallery. I wondered whether it is possible to try and not understand something on purpose or deliberately prolong a situation where something is incomprehensible. For instance, standing there watching a fan in the same way as I would listen to a speech in Chinese. I have thought about all the words contained in the dictionary of the Italian language, whose meaning I do not know. I would like to organise a situation where there are several people nonchalantly using such words. I have often thought about creating a piece of work on the subject of “that doesn’t enter into it ”: to try and think of something that has nothing to do with what one is doing or say things that have nothing to do with what is happening or identify all the objects present in a certain place, which “do not enter into it”. I would like to organise a situation where there are various people who do not enter into ... for instance a contemporary art gallery. I have also thought of a sculpture exhibition, where the works on display are the descriptions of objects that do not exist in the known physical reality, perhaps “seen” by the artist or someone else, in that moment before falling asleep.
Cesare Pietroiusti, October 2006