From June 13 to September 15, 2019, Le jour des esprits est notre nuit, a group exhibition with Lázara Rosell Albear & Sammy Baloji, Meris Angioletti, Minia Biabiany, Oier Etxeberria, Tamar Guimarães & Kasper Akhøj, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, Candice Lin, Sean Lynch, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, curated by Catalina Lozano & Elfi Turpin.
We have been talking a lot about all these divisions produced within modernity; divisions that are artificial but very efficacious. They have propagated and multiplied exponentially and create an epistemological model that characterises what we call Western thought. In the past decade, I have been interested in exploring the cracks in this seemingly compact knowledge.
I think the primordial division from where other ones stem out is the split between body and soul that characterises Christianity, which got secularised, turning into a division between body and reason in modernity. In this logic, soul and reason are superior and dominate the material aspect of our being. Further associations start to replicate, linking women to the bodily and animalistic, to “nature”, while men are considered superior and closer to the spiritual and the intellectual, to “culture”. Of course, today we know this not to be true, but these narratives are so ingrained in our culture that they have permeated many planes of knowledge.
Now, what about the division between the visible and the invisible? It is a highly efficacious one, and I would venture to say that its transgression, or at least its organization, is very much the role of ritual. However, if we go outside Christianity, even at its borders, we start finding instances of an erasure of that logic, where the fluidity between planes seems to be the rule and not the exception.
I became interested in the functions of divination as the interrogation of the invisible. In some cases divination is associated with chance—like in the I ching—, but in others, it is also a means of communication with “invisible,” often sacred, entities—like in the Ifa religion—and works very much like diagnosis in Western medicine, except that in this case the force of the invisible and the unknown supersedes what can be seen, measured and seized.
See you soon,
Le jour des esprits est notre nuit is part of Plein Soleil, l’été des centres d’art. The exhibition is kindly supported by IEAC, Institut européen des arts céramiques, Guebwiller.