Unreal Nature

June 20, 2018

Why Does Something Become Something?

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:54 am

… structures of meaning and structures of desire cannot be separated.

Continuing through ‘The Ethics of Not-Knowing: Wolfgang Tillmans’s truth study center‘ by Tom McDonough found in Wolfgang Tillmans: What’s wrong with redistribution? (2016):

… He has said that the questions posed by the tabletops are those that turn upon the interval between ignorance and knowledge: “When do developments become noticeable? When is a process recognizable? Which one achieves critical mass? When does something become something? When do things become visible? What can pictures make visible?”

Julie Ault … has provocatively compared his displays with “a teenager’s room,” its walls papered over with a heterogeneous array of ephemera to form “a constellation of images and things installed floor-to-ceiling, edge-to-edge in order to articulate, claim, and control every inch of space.” She sees this as the Ur-model for the artist’s mature embrace of “active design with constant change and democratic display as guiding principles.” We could call it an affective archive, a gathering of, as Tillmans describes it, “objects of visual and physical attraction, which carry aesthetic and emotional charges.”

… as Jan Verwoert put it, because Tillmans’s work is always “saturated with affect,” structures of meaning and structures of desire cannot be separated.

He speaks of his installations as “a language of personal associations and ‘thought-maps’,” which seems an apt way to portray the truth study centers as well. It effectively captures their non-linear quality, the sense in which the tabletops are “only readable to a certain degree; there is no conclusive interpretation or clear-cut agenda.”

… this not-knowing is neither a simple lack of comprehension nor the knowing pose of a faux-naif who in fact sees things more clearly than his audience; it is, rather, a strategic choice of great importance for his work. Tillmans’s stance — what he describes as an embrace of duality or coexistence, and what we might call working in the space between the desire to understand and its impossibility — is precisely what solicits their response.

My most recent previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

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