#462 Shallow Grave
64x84 cm | Filler, oak panel, wooden cross
The self-aware subject cannot imagine a world in which it does not exist. We can accept and understand it is possible, but imagining something presupposes a perspective, precisely what the non-existent lacks. If we think of ourselves as dead in a secular way, we may experience it as a void or darkness. But we cannot imagine a non-experience. That's why we like to see the boundary to death as a reflective surface. Death reflects life in such a manner that it is also a place where the subject belongs. It has become the task of religion to describe this, and the cross symbolizes the victory of life over death within Christian culture.
Imagining something is an act that requires language. To live is to use language to relate to the outside world. The experience of being alive and observing the world is a linguistic act. As we experience the world through language, reality becomes a picture we find ourselves in, but at the same time, paradoxically perceive from the outside.
What is exterior to the image is raw physical matter. The domain of death can be described as a world without semiotics. Reality beyond language.
The small wooden cross on the panel is above the picture, but the imprint of it is inside. The dead matter, reality itself, can only be experienced as mirrored, a reflection. The gap between them is unbridgeable unless we lose ourselves and retreat to the boundless register of the non-semantic.
I have called this work Shallow Grave because all graves are actually shallow. Our memory lives on in language for a short while, and then we are gone forever.
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 its relation to its surrounding.
The title references the famous Coca-Cola campaign and Immanuel Kant's notion of the thing in itself. It means that subjects can only experience the phenomena as they present themselves through perception. It is always fundamentally different from what the things are outside language boundaries - 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.