#426 A Hard Place
64x84 cm | Filler, oak panel
This work was made together with #425 A Rock. I did these works by pressing two panels of filler against each other, with a pile of 99 stones between them.
The expression "Between a rock and a hard place" means having only bad choices at hand. It originated after a failed mining strike in Arizona in the early 1900s. Workers were forced to choose between poorly paid and dangerous work down in the mines on one side or unemployment and poverty on the other. The material conditions may appear steadfast, but the struggle over these drives history forward. A fight for the necessities of life but also a battle over language. About what is allowed to be described, considered possible and thus part of what is or can become real. Language becomes actual in the encounter between people. It must be spoken to come into being.
But man is also always solitary. Words leave us and attach themselves to physical matter where someone else hopefully picks them up. Like a message in a bottle. We lay down tight to the ground because we desire to be a part of it. Reach out of ourselves. Language embraces objects from all sides. But matter is relentless. Humans, in our subjective position, can never become united with material reality no matter how much we push ourselves against it. Only when we die, do we become dust.
I frequently use the number 99 when producing my works. 99 is referencing the famous slogan of the Occupy movement - "We are the 99%". I interpret it as a unity of interest more than wealth. The large majority are united through their relation to labour, or employment, as opposed to the minority owners of capital - the employers. We should use this common ground instead of being divided by our different occupations and tasks within the capitalist system.
It is vital to notice that 99% means most, but not all. We are united not by universality but through the struggle for a common goal or against a common opponent.
99% can also represent the fact that universality is an abstract concept. There is never a complete answer; there is always a rest that will remain unknown. In real life, any happiness always contains a stain of sorrow, any victory a shadow of defeat.
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.