Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dusting and Casting

Jorge Otero-Pailos, The Ethics of Dust: Doge's Palace, Venice 2009 [Venice Biennale]
Latex is poured over an unrestored wall of the Doge's Palace. The resulting cast ... a palimpsest of sorts ... or a print lifted from lithographic stone ... perhaps a death mask ... is embedded with the detritus of centuries, the dust, the grime, the dents, the traces of all those flies on the wall, watching ...
The cast, the dust, is an impression, in all senses of the word, bringing to mind the passage from Rainer Maria Rilke's The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, of that which is embedded within an abandoned space ... "But the walls themselves were the most unforgettable. The stubborn life of these rooms had not allowed itself to be trampled out. It was still there; it clung to the nails that had been left in the walls; it found a resting-place on the remaining handbreadth of flooring; it squatted beneath the corner beams where a little bit of space remained. One could see it in the colours which it had slowly changed, year by year: blue into a mouldy green, green into grey, and yellow into a stale, drab, weary white. But it was also in the places that had kept fresher, behind the mirrors, the pictures, and the wardrobes; for it bad outlined their contours over and over again, and had been with cobwebs and dust even in these hidden retreats that now lay uncovered. It was in every bare, flayed streak of surface, it was in the blisters the dampness had raised at the edges of the wallpapers; it floated in the torn-off shreds, and sweated out of the long-standing spots of filth. And from these walls once blue, and green and yellow, framed by the tracks of the disturbed partitions, the breath of these lives came forth - the clammy, stuggish, fusty breath, which no wind had yet scattered."

And of landscape as the 'state of the soul' ... Paysage-état-de-l’âme

And of the castings of Rachel Whiteread, the creations of solids from voids, paperweights for the volatile memories which drift in spaces ....

Rachel Whiteread, House 1993

Death Mask of Napoleon Bonaparte

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