The exhibition On Hearing of an Absence acts as a hinterland that proposes a distorted journey to the unknown. It aims to radiate a quality of mood within an evocative setting. This mood exceeds clear and distinct figuration and is characterised by a set of ambiguities. In this process, the emphasis falls on what the works of art irradiate, making the presence of something inexpressible that operates within the realm of the affect, and encouraging encounters that are powerful through their emotivity.
The selected artworks do not represent a static spectacle, but one which is inscribed by some kind of affective intensity. Oscillating between real and imaginary space, some of them embrace things that no longer exist and events that leave ineffable mysteries behind. They turn the gaze of the spectator to what has hitherto been a void or an absence of some tangible reference. This type of imagery is predicated on the uncanny specter that underlies a sense of otherworldliness and calls for a de-familiarization with everyday spaces. Infused with emotion and developed beyond ordinary experience, these works represent what Gordon Burn calls the “anti-sublime”, as they can be found far away from the pleasure principle.
In this otherworldly terrain strewn with symbols and enigmatic entities, everything is concealed under a veneer of familiarity. Imbued with a sense of austerity, dereliction and bareness, the exhibited works are characterised by a dual, paradoxical aspect in that they appear to be familiar, while, at the same time, they possess an unsettling quality and so they have the power to disturb the mind of the viewer by being stretched far beyond the normal. They deny clear identification or orientation and operate as cryptic establishments, appearing to be inviting yet daunting at the same time.
Being immersed in and intermingled with such an environment, one is confronted with a sense of palpable hidden presence, an unfathomable world that is not able to be verified but can only be felt ‘in the air’. To this extent, the lines between what is present/ real and what is not become blurred. In this state of ontological inconsistency that operates beyond perceptibility, presence is being introduced in terms of absence, absence takes the form of presence and opposites are indistinct.
Curated by: Dinos Chatzirafailidis
Participating artists: Kirstine Aarkrog, Andreas Albrectsen, Anna Gonzalez Noguchi, Francesco Pacelli, Deniz Saridas, Jura Shust, Sasha Streshna, Markus von Platen
Haus N Athen (6, Kairi Street, Athens)
Opening: 25/11, 7-10 pm
November 25, 2022–January 13, 2023, Opening hours: Thursday–Friday 7-10 pm