84x64 cm | Filler, oak panel
The text on the work is the name of a song by Paul Simon. This work is related to #489 Here We Are Now, and if you read the two titles together, they misinterpret a verse in Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Language is the oldest trick in the book. A sign is allowed to represent something from reality. The trick is that the symbols are also shaped by physical matter, so the difference between language and what it represents is initially unclear. We have difficulty distinguishing language from reality. What language actually does is hide the uninterpreted reality through its representation.
The artist's task is to break the spell. To point to the raw material by showing the ostensible nature of language. It does not exist in itself but creates an illusion of comprehensible reality by placing a layer of structure over the boundless, fluid state that is the primordial essence of matter.
It is an impossible task. But we try. Over and over again.
See a video of the production here.
Perception is an interpretation and thus consists of language in the same manner as understanding words. To the mind, a word is always also an image. In that sense, understanding words function no differently than normal perception. When we see, images are constructed inside the mind. We never perceive reality objectively or in itself.
However, to use language, we have to speak or write it. We have to realize it. Nothing ever communicates without being inscribed into a matter of some sort. But how words are inserted into reality affects how we perceive them. Thus reality itself seeps into language. There exists no clear or unmediated communication. Matter adds to the message. Because which matter we choose to communicate through and how we shape it reflects on who we are, it can reveal unconscious or hidden meanings.
Humans inscribed the first written words in stone or clay. One of the purposes was to save them for the future, to protect them from the volatility of time. To speak, or to write, is always, to some extent, an act of power. The receiver must initially submit his or her attention to the message. No matter how insignificant, its meaning will always, in some way, change the receiver forever.
There is a constant tension between language and reality as matter. The human subject is defined by an individual will, as opposed to the strict causality of nature. This will strive to be expressed through language. Maybe self-awareness is a result of language in use. Language as a way for the ego to invent itself, to inscribe itself into the world. It is no coincidence that many of the first examples of texts are curses, prayers, laws or inventories — different ways of trying to influence and master reality.
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.