#337-43 In Itself For Itself
Installation dimensions variable (64x84 cm each panel) | Filler, oak panels, oak strips
The series consists of seven panels showing the most distinctive parts of a face - two eyes and a mouth. I have made the pictures by pounding my fists in the wet filler an exponentially growing number of times. Three on the first panel, six on the second and so on. The image on the last panel consists of 192 pounds. It can be installed freestanding with mounted legs of oak strips.
Facial expressions are a basic form of semantic communication. They are perceived and expressed intuitively and can both strengthen and counteract the conscious and pronounced message. It is easy to perceive emojis' development, originally tiny characters for different facial expressions, as a regression of written language. Still, it is perhaps more fruitful to see them as a tool for a more intuitive, fluid and complex subtext, which runs parallel to the cognitive information in the same way body language does to spoken words.
The series indicates an emotional development, from the timid and almost surprised expression on the first panel to the violent and perhaps intimidating on the last. Karl Marx never used the term class consciousness but wrote that the proletariat must emerge from being in itself to being for itself. They must stop reacting and instead start acting if they're ever going to be agents of revolution. But where semantic notions must be pronounced and given a physical form to communicate, responses to injustice must be directed towards a goal and carried out intentionally to become actual actions that can create lasting change. Protests are good, but the force in them must be harnessed and formulated politically. They must make the reverse journey and go from the physical to the semantic in order to realize a new reality - and have real consequences.
This series consists of works with impressions from pounding the wet filler with my fists. Pounding can be a way to process and shape a physical material. The expression "to pound the table" means to assert one's opinion or to protest against transgressed or threatened boundaries. This points to a convergence between artistic production and political activism, to insist on attempting to bluntly shape a (reluctant) reality according to one's will.
Res Ipsa is a compilation of works made by an act shaping the filler once it is prepared inside the frame. The works thus function as a recording device and give a statement of the event taking place while the filler was still wet.
Res Ipsa is Latin for "the thing itself" and is part of the juridical term "Res ipsa loquitur" (the thing speaks for itself), used when an injury or accident in itself clearly shows who is responsible, such as an instrument left inside a body after surgery.
Watch a video of me presenting this work in its premiere public appearance here.