1 April 2019

Tonight (15 May 2018), because I really think someone needed to say something (or nothing, as it were), it's a draft, actually written tonight

Written in response to Camilla Wills' solo exhibition Tonight, Gaudel de Stampa, Paris, 21 March – 18 May 2018

The possibility of a life not governed by the logic of repair ... How, in the absence of wanting to repair, could one possibly go on? … Would living with negativity entail the death of the optimism that animates desire and energizes politics?*

Something in warmth lacking – so: cold – reflects light, contains darkness. That is, another definition for “structure”; emptiness.

Emptiness can only be identified through its limits (what it is not): description gives what is not (there) form. This form, therefore, can only be shell, a demonstration of what is inside. An absence with edges (cuts) that are suggestions. This is seriously optimistic.

The fireplaces, mantles, hearths, are such demonstrations. They describe that which could have been a shelter, how it remains an image. Cold and evocative. The bourgeoisie.

To sit with that image is to describe the constitutive emptiness of fire, contained. Fire, which burns itself up in what looks like passion, what feels like heat, what represents wholesomeness – at a certain scale only.

It is seriously optimistic that such an element “looks back”. As if to project passion yet again – “add insult to injury” – a negative doubling. What does it see? Prosperity, fashionable feet and boxes in boxes in boxes. A duplication of its own shell-like housing. An absent, dead Napoleon meets an absent, doubled Wills as worm, cut, placed inside her own box-structure-cum-hearth.

An interior revealed shows: nothing (but the cut, the act of showing). The worm is not a demonstration.

The fuel of the fire can be otherwise called “the reductant”. What is reduced? What is reduced when there is nothing to burn? When nothing, is burning.

Now Fire, the name we give to the image of energy being reduced, emptied, begs the question: "What is the scale of human warmth?"

Of course there is no answer, only more description.

(That blue will never be found; will never reply.)

Any fullness of meaning is in what cannot fully express, what constitutively lacks, what combusts, expires.

And, if it is anywhere, warmth is there where reduction no longer burns like debasement, and no longer needs to have its passion made image.

-- Eleanor Ivory Weber

*Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman, Sex, or the Unbearable, Duke University Press, Durham/London 2014, p. xv


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