Screening Friday 29 January 2016, 6 to 9pm
In the two video works presented at news of the world, Absalon is performing life.
In ‘Solutions’, within the confines of a cell-like room, he drinks, eats, smokes, sleeps, masturbates, paces the room, softly bangs his head on the wall, waits, has a bath. Solutions to what?
In ‘Bataille’ he fights an invisible enemy, or his shadow, without leaving a contained perimeter, he fights all he can, until his energy wears off, fights again. Battle with whom?
When he makes these films, Absalon knows time is running out.
But the man walking on the set is not a dead man walking. This is a man resisting to become what culture is inviting him to become, by creating, at pace, a detailed plan for his future -kosmopolites, nomadic, rootless, yet as a social individual, a citizen of the world in Diogenes’ sense; inventing his own constraints to replace those bestowed upon him, finding new gestures, attempting to realise the potentiality of his own work in changing his life, ‘abstracting’ that life to make it one with his ideas.
The cells (cellules) he built as houses, of white modernist aspect, are not a critique of a modernist utopia. They do not pertain to be a universal solution, a design for living, a modulor in which all -others- have to fit. Exoskeletons, they stem from, and are carefully measured to, the artist’s body, they are meticulously planned and built to minimise and mechanise his movements, yet purposely shaped to create discomfort to him, to multiply constraints and to demand the strictest discipline of life and motion.
Like astronauts training modules, the cells are the training ground for a life where sitting, sleeping, moving, eating is heroic; Solutions is a preparation for the time when isolation and confinement is inevitable, and where simple tasks, functioning, must be relearned in entirely new ways.
What is at stake for the artist is not whether his scream on film recalls that of Munch or Nauman, whether smoking a cigarette in silence might be akin to a Fluxus score, or whether the structures he makes are cognisant of Malevich’s architectones. What is at stake here is himself, how to live his life, because ‘at the very moment where all is lost, everything is possible’.
With grateful thanks to PDani Eshel, Chantal Crousel and Galerie Chantal Crousel. For more information: