Pilipczuk Gallery, Copenhagen
28 October – 3 December
Curator: Carl Olsson
Text: Carl Olsson
Notes from a visit to the zoological museum
I enter where the sheets are spliced
I see unkempt hair and the organizing principle (uninvited)
A stuffed bird on the cross
Everything is covered in fur. Inside the jars are symbols of compelled worship (?)
The animals are clearly signs (uninvited). They are the unspoiled presence of letters inserted in the wrong sentences, or else mistaken symbols in an objective dream without a dreamer
I have no encounter. If there is an encounter it is the kind of encounter that occurs between two different orders separated by cellophane. Each exhibit is pushed together like dried kelp for preservation and I, the spectator, can not partake. Everything is layered surfaces pressed together to touch, as in the case of transplantation without suture. I’m not sure if there is any touch, however. What happens behind the glass is only appearance from the place before it.
A study of my macaque rack
A macaque rack of size is placed at X meters in front of a concave mirror of focal length Y meters. At a distance from the mirror a LCD-monitor should be placed, so that a sharp focused image can be obtained.
Between the two poles should lay a landscape dressed in fur.
Fur pressed between very thick panes of glass and sheets of cellophane.
I need to tell you this because I have in my possession an object of size. It is a sealed macaque rack, kept open for the living beast within.
It stands behind a pane of glass, as the axis of its world. Another pane of glass separates the macaque rack from the monitor.
I ITI I The scene as seen in profile
The monitor displays a quadripartite grid.
<A formula for how many macaques it takes to make a sealed macaque rack. The answer is invariably four.>
The macaques are woven mouth in tail and tail in mouth. Uninvited they are hanged around the seal in four wooden beams protruding from the dorsoventral and left-right axes.
My macaque rack stands before the mirror with its macaques poised to jump from beam to beam. But of course they never jump.
The little hands caress the living beast that has been pithed on its own spine (reconstructed from a pine). Intermittently a caretaker enters the setup from a perpendicular angle to feed the living beast needles from a pine, preserving the captured seal alive.
Every curator has relinquished herself to the compulsion to constitute a self-evidentiary space.
I exit the room. There is no right by which the specimen belonged on the plane on which it was laid out. The animal had been trespassed from somewhere else to partake, brought by an urge to have an animal present in the painting. It was a circus animal, by no means a pet – and the gallery does not permit wild things so it could not be wild. Hence, the animal surely belonged to the circus.
It is earlier. The animal figure has been intruded into a dream. The fact of a connection in time has been absorbed by the canvas. The animal is part of the figure-ground relationship from which all intelligibility arises, but it only belongs in the abnormal sense of a figure intruding in a forbidden space surrounded by a protective layer of fur, plastic or glass. The figure should not be here. It is here. How does the intruding figure interact across the layers of surfaces and depths?
I stand for a time. I find myself face to face with a memory from a dream. The dream had no dreamer. There were holes in the dream – empty holes. An abstract animal was dreamt in a true space without any duration, extracted from a theatre or cage. Watching it, I feel emptied, preyed upon by the empty holes. It is perpetual dusk from here on. It is dark. The animal only visits during night: an inner night projected onto the canvas. I know it as my night. I am a discharged space with an eviction notice, virtually bound to make room for the zoological intruder, stabilized as the aftermath of a lightning bolt depleting a difference of potential. The intruder no longer needs me to vouch.