seriously forgot serious
Tjalling de Vries
18 January - 14 February 2008
This work stems from a continuous interest I reflect in my practice: that the representation of the self is the only method of understanding anything we call knowledge. The ‘self portrait’ that I often use is about a universal view of the self and the only method of understanding available to us—through ourselves. The existentialist questioning of the worth of life and questioning of moral action is of great importance to me, and my work.
This is not a new question but one I believe is still of weight in today’s society, especially also in Art and Art as a practice. It seems more and more, Art reflects upon itself, is more conscious of itself, and does less to understand the individual directly but more to understand itself. In a sense the use of a skull makes this a modern day ‘vanitas’.
Looking at the ‘exit’ but finding oneself inside escape itself, thus looking at the back of the ‘exit’, being wholly conscious of one’s futile position. Life and/or death are equally, unrelentingly, worthless. There is no exit. The installation becomes nearly a comical representation of Sartre’s play Huis Clos, translated into English as ‘No Exit’. In this play Sartre uses three characters sent to a hell as a metaphor for the individual’s position in life itself. The individuals are in a situation where they cannot find comfort or happiness. They know their fate and cannot escape. The work relates comically to the translated title No Exit’ by being a mirror image of ‘EXIT’, thus being inside the outside. Seeing all but not being in a better position for it.
‘Huis Clos’ translates more literally as ‘closed door’, but ‘No Exit’ probably gives more of a feeling of what idea the title should evoke.