Julien Bismuth
Titled (Untitled)
Sep 5 – Oct 18, 2009

Mir geht es bei dieser Arbeit so, wie es Einem geht, wenn man sich vergebens anstrengt, einen Namen in die Erinnerung zu rufen; man sagt da: “denk an etwas Anderes, dann wird es Dir einfallen”- und so mußte ich immer wieder an Anderes denken, damit mir das einfallen konnte, wonach ich lange gesucht hatte.

In doing this work, I found myself in the position like that of a man who is unsuccessfully struggling to remember a name; in such a case we say: “think of something else, then it will come to you”- and similarly I had constantly to think of something else so as to allow what I had been searching for a long time to occur to me.

Ludwig Wittgenstein


This exhibition consists of a series of disparate works, marked by similar qualities of approach and gesture. The intention was to create works that were complex without being complicated, while also addressing certain fundamental and basic aspects of artworks, and of the ways they are looked at and interpreted. The pieces in this show are the results or remainders of a series of simple gestures whose complexities reveals themselves the more one looks at them and the closer one moves towards them.

Some of the works were produced by the repetition and translation of certain actions. The collages were produced by simply removing or masking images or parts of images from newspapers. The wall works titled Abîme (which can either mean an abyss or a conjugation of the verb “to damage” in French) were produced by removing paint from a delimited surface area of the wall. The work titled Titled/Untitled started off as a simple attempt to detach a title from its work, which led to making a work that consisted only of a stacked line of titles stretching from floor to ceiling. Some of the works were an effort to somehow respond to certain texts or passages of texts that I had read. Waiting room was inspired by the research of Dr. Robert Provine on the contagiousness of yawning, as well as by Heidegger’s famous lecture on boredom. Untitled (Crumpled Ideas) is the literal reproduction or actualization of a metaphor by Wittgenstein, taken from a passage from his notebooks, a quote which is included in the title as a material component of the piece. This last work is one of a series of works inspired by passages from philosophical or literary texts, passages which, in the space of a few words, manage to open up a new perspective onto a familiar problem or question. In each case, the intention was less to illustrate or expand the passage than simply to pay homage to it, and specifically to the central image or metaphor by means of which the thought was expressed.

All of these works are, in one way or another, a response to something else, a response that is less a reaction than a departure or a digression from its point of origin. Whether in art or elsewhere, every repetition or return is separated from its target by the space of a detour, a deferral, or a difference, just as every departure is held to its origin by the imprints, recurrences, and returns of that which it seeks to leave behind (and by extension, just as originality entails a knowledge and awareness of one’s origins, so imitation can never come full circle except by way of the destruction of its model). The question is not to escape or reconciliate these polarities but to find a way to work with them, and work within them.