Didactique du Déjà-Vu

June 17 – August 12, 2017
Opening reception: June 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Patrick Bérubé: Didactique du Déjà-Vu
Art Mûr Leipzig
Spinnereistraße 7, Halle 4b
Leipzig (DE)

Text by Michael Rattray

On the problem of order the curious will seek to discover those elemental features that are the foundations of critical inquiry. From these investigations predetermined assumptions to novel queries will become normalized, and in time seen as a natural progression. Is it possible to resist the compulsion to answer? Must a grammar be applied to understand place and time? To return to the archive, a concept of our own devices; to take up the history of art and experiment with authority elicits a confrontation between expectation and summation. But what of the aftermath? How might we reconstruct the world once aware of its end?

A quick search, your cloud-based device provides instantaneous access to the sum total of knowledge – the archive of dreams. When it fails, its electrical and numeric machinations visualize an assumption, an imprint that is based upon what it knows to be true yet cannot provide factual evidence of existence. The result? An abstraction, based upon historical precedent. At a time when automation was a topic of concern for artists, abstraction was a way in which to invoke the still human possibility for transcendence among the brute repetition of the coming machinic order. As Patricia Leighten reminds us, abstraction is both aesthetic and social – neither one without the other may provide a secure footing for a visualization of the whole. While we might catch a glimpse of Mondrian in the compositional aesthetic, it is nonetheless our social relation with an algorithm that defines and redefines the communication breakdown between receiver, host, and interpreter. “To cut us loose from our habitual moorings has become the chief task we assign to the artist,” argued Edgar Wind in 1963, theorizing that it was the function of the artist in the 20th century to reveal the disorder in an age of order. His intention was not to hypothesize that art was in equilibrium with entropy, but to continue the tradition of art history: the systematic meditation on the purpose of art. Seeing the future world, in 1922 Wölfflin observed that colour did not counteract the clarity of an image, yet in its consistent and uniform use would take on a life of its own. Once autonomous, it could no longer be in the service of things because it would become the thing in-itself.

To present the world as it actually exists; rendered as a utile abstraction, a conglomeration or assemblage of concepts creating complex platforms for the purpose of supporting greater structures: these are the complexities that re-create our normalized understanding of perspective. Shifts in this complacent attitude toward the real result in condensed, miniaturized, and or all-out counterfeit editions of authentic origin. Lost within infinitely circulating patterns, the real and the unreal unite, the composite and the image reveal a liar’s only truth. Patterns leave their reflections, and, coiled up to Babel’s golden ratio, find themselves caught in an echo chamber: a place where we are confirmed by the twin voices of our enunciation.

Strain your eyes and the result may disturb you. Open them and you may even be surprised.