#380 Real Thing
64x84 cm | Filler, oak frame, bottle
The bottle on the top is Tehbotol, an Indonesian ice tea that I purchased on a trip to Bali and kept as a souvenir. Extremely sweet. The shape of the bottle vaguely resembles the image below, in turn looking a bit like the famous outline of a Coca-Cola. As some might remember, the company once upon a time had a campaign called It's the Real Thing. The desire for originality is deeply rooted in our existence. Mechanical reproduction developed alongside industrialism and capitalism as we know it. The loss of authenticity is also at the heart of socialism, according to Marx. The introduction of the commodity challenges even the fabric of reality. Ownership becomes the core connection between the subject and the outside world. But perhaps alienation precedes modernity. As psychoanalytic theory postulates, it is the foundation for self-consciousness. Postmodernism and the digital age's hyper immateriality shows something beyond originality and authenticity - even better than the real thing, as the band U2 sang in the '90s.
The series features works with an appendix placed on top of the work or close to it. This object is exterior to the image plane, the illusionary "window" in the picture, but is still an intrinsic part of the whole. It connects or makes visible the two dimensions of an artwork - its inner logic and the relation to its surrounding.
The title references both the famous campaign by Coca-Cola and Immanuel Kant's notion of the thing in itself. It means that subjects can only experience the phenomenons as they present themselves, through perception. It is always fundamentally different from what the things are outside the barrier of language - in themselves.
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.