Friday, January 11, 2008

Salcado's Crack

Waiting for a friend to arrive at the Tate Modern - we were off to see the Louise Bourgoise - I ventured to inspect Doris Salcado's crack - a gash that runs the length of the turbine hall. I walked down the steps from the side entrance fully expecting (and almost wanting) to hate it. I'd read how she interprets it as being about how racism divides society. It all seemed a gimmick, an exercise in filling space with a one-liner...

So I avoided picking up the pamphlet with yet more of her interpretation, and decided to experience it first-hand, without any interpretative schema provided in advance.

I sat at this spot (picture on the left), for a good 20 minutes. The opening sent me on a journey in all directions. I thought of the wound and the scar, and its peculiar temporality and ontology. The smooth skin before, the rupture, the suture, the healing, the scar. Healing from a gash is never complete. Nothing is fully ever over. The body writes the experience onto the body in the form of scar tissue. When Salcado's gash is closed up, the scar will remain written into the smooth high grade concrete of the turbine hall's floor... Then I thought - almost inevitably - of labial spaces, and the thickness of the cavity - a paradox of emptiness being a form of fullness - the viscosity of space and the uncanny nature of the orifice. Each side of the scar creates a kind of pregnancy in the space between. Empty space is never empty. Ultimately, we have always to arrest ourselves from thinking of space and time as quantifiable, when in fact more fundamentally they are qualia of experience. We go looking for discrete intervals of both, and we stay at the surface of being..

I had many other thoughts as I sat there. Sometimes we need to throw away whatever the artist tries to tell us (as if we need our hands holding up to their work), and just sit and experience it. The artist should just do. It is up to decide what it might all mean..

As for the Louise Bourgoise - its too much and too rich to write about. She went straight in at number one as my favourite sculptor (knocking off Anish Kapoor). Its on till the 20th of this month only, if you're in London.


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