#384 Return To Innocence
84x64 cm | Filler, oak frame, plastic animals
I made imprints of six plastic animals for this work and placed them on top of the panel over their corresponding shape.
When I was a kid, I had toy animals like this. I didn't so much play with them, as I would organise them. I used to place them in rows along the edge of a table. Nostalgia is driven by the fact that the past is barred from us. It's not the fact that we never can go back in time, but that our memories, no matter how vivid, always is fundamentally different from the experience. A memory is created from our perception, and perception is always structured by language. It is as much a story as a reconstruction of facts - of truth.
The desire in popular culture for time travelling hides the realisation that we are not ever really present even now. It is more accurately demonstrated in movies about devices to save, replay or even construct reality, like Total Recall, Wim Wenders Until the End of the World or the Matrix series. Yet, this obsession with our inner experience, reality as language, misses the point that there is always something missing in representations. Signifiers always wrap around reality like a thin coat of paint and obscure its hard, unobtainable kernel. It must remain hidden, but without it, experience becomes odourless, smooth and intangible. Somehow, it loses its meaning. This is reality without the Real, in a psychoanalytical sense. The Real is the terrifying void behind perception, behind notions and concepts. Unattainable to language, it is still the matter from which it is made.
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.