press release

A Brand New Baby Carriage Standing there on the Porch
Pauline Bastard, Dina Danish, Rubén Grilo, Shana Lutker, Alex Mirutziu, Uriel Orlow,
Annaïk Lou Pitteloud, Sebastian Schaub
April 14 – June 02, 2012

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people- and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.”

In ‘Speak, Memory’, Vladimir Nabokov describes the birth of his own sense of time and of being as ‘tremendously invigorating’. It was the comparison of the age of his parents, thirty-three and twenty-seven, with his own age of four, that brought about his sense of himself as separate from the world around him, along with the realization, that the world had been there before his entrance. Nabokov describes this revelation as his second baptism: ‘I felt myself plunged abruptly into a radiant and mobile medium that was no other than the pure element of time. One shared it – just as excited bathers share shinning seawater – with creatures that were not oneself but that were joined to one by time’s common flow, an environment quite different from the spatial world’. This early intuition is akin to the theory of Duration by French philosopher Henri Bergson, who attempted to redefine the modern conceptions of time, space, and causality. Seeing Duration as a mobile and fluid concept, Bergson argued that one couldn’t understand Duration through "immobile" analysis, but only through experiential, first-person intuition. In his essay ‘The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics’ he described the dilemma of measuring time: the moment, one attempted to measure, was gone at the moment one attempted to measure that specific moment. He concluded that the inner life of man as a form of Duration was neither a unity nor a quantitative multiplicity but could only be shown indirectly through images and could only be understood through a simple intuition of the imagination. ‘Speak, Memory’ is a systematically correlated assemblage of personal recollections, images and words, which transcend the limitations of ordinary time. Characters appear and reappear in different contexts and at different moments, disintegrating the narrative structure and questioning not only the reality of the recollections but also the linearity of time. “I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness-in a landscape selected at random-is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern-to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.”

This exhibition affiliates eight young artists who share in their work a preoccupation with the concept of time and investigation of elements of time. One group of works on display can be categorized as attempt to (re-)create time through different time-based elements which can take place within the tool (i.e. video camera), through a narrative or a process, but is not limited to a specific medium such as film but also includes two-dimensional images. One group of works investigates the measurement of time whereas the measuring tools have been alienated of their original function. Another group of works looks at time as a recollection of memories. Akin to Nabokov’s ‘magic carpet’ they create images of past events and times, though memories of other people, through objects that serve as placeholders, though found objects or photographs. By displaying them as collage or parallel to one-another the artists question whether these memories can serve as evidence or if they are, at least in some parts, rather fictitious, thus ultimately questioning the linearity of time. The most radical questioning of the concept of time can be seen in a work on view that does not yet exist but can only be seen in the form of a pending work.