170x64 cm | Filler, oak frame
Language has a remarkable ability - it can describe the non-existent. It is not, as the material world, bound to what is actually there, it can wander off into new, previously unknown universes, it can invent what didn’t exist before. Things that are entirely new. Matter can create new stuff too, but it always has to follow a strict regime of causality. This is maybe not the case with the use of language. I believe this to be marvellous and not as self-evident it seems at first glance. The non-existent is, in a way even more mysterious than the barred dimension of materiality, the Real, which we never can enter as self-conscious subjects. At least with matter, we know it’s there, though we can never entirely feel and experience the world as matter, bound to language as awareness is. Before we were born and after we die, we habit the void of the non-existent. Which means we don’t exist. We are nothing. Not like emptiness which does exist, but non-existing like no-things. How can we even talk about nothing when it doesn’t exist? The concept of nothing exists, but it has no foundation in the material world. It’s a fantasy, like Santa, ghosts, and everything else we only can imagine.
The mirror displays the material world as an image. An image is transferable; it is language. When we first look in the mirror, we see ourselves as signs, entities of language. This is how we become self-aware. But we know the mirror image is not the same as the actual physical world, and this introduces an unconscious knowledge of a split within the self. Under the surface of our consciousness, beyond language and subjectivity, there is something else. A part of us that is inseparable from the body, connected to matter within and everywhere. This part, the one int the mirror, exists—the other one, the one in our heads - not entirely certain.
To the mind, a word is always also an image. In that sense, understanding words function no different than normal perception. When we see, images are constructed inside the mind. We never perceive reality objectively or in itself. Perception is an interpretation and thus consist of language, in the same manner as understanding words.
However, to use language, we have to speak or write it. We have to realize it. Nothing ever communicates without being inscribed into a matter of some sort. But how words are inserted into reality affects how we perceive them. Thus reality itself seeps into language. There exists no clear or unmediated communication. Matter adds to the message. Because which matter we choose to communicate through, and how we shape it, reflects on who we are, it can reveal unconscious or hidden meanings.
Humans inscribed the first written words in stone or clay. One of the purposes was to save them for the future, to protect them from the volatility of time. To speak, or to write, is always to some extent, an act of power. The receiver must initially submit his or her attention to the message. No matter how insignificant, its meaning will always in some way change the receiver forever.
There is a constant tension between language and reality as matter. The human subject is defined by an individual will, as opposed to the strict causality of nature. This will strive to be expressed through language. Maybe self-awareness is a result of language at use. Language as a way for the ego to invent itself, to inscribe itself into the world. It is no coincident that many of the first examples of texts are curses, prayers, laws or inventories — different ways of trying to influence and master reality.
Tablet series is part of Template, a compilation of works made by using pieces of wooden plates as templates. They function as a mould or matrix for the finished work.
Reminiscent of Richard Serra's Verb List I try to use simple and clearly defined actions to shape the filler in my works. This method ensures there is always non-cognitive aspects of the production process.