All the Things Which Are Not Here
Swimming Pool / SOFIA (Bulgaria)
04.10.2019 – 03.11.2019

Of the things which are not here, and are not,
we have, over here,
things which are not here, which have been,
and, over here, we have
things which are not here, which have not been

All the Things Which Are Not Here, a project by Romanian-born and Berlin-based artist Irina Gheorghe, brings together various techniques to approach that which is not present in the space of Swimming Pool. If, for things which are here, a whole range of practices are available, the same cannot be said about things which are not here. We can measure the space between things which are here; but how can we measure the distance to something which is not here? How can we measure the distance between something which is here and something which is not here? How do we communicate with that which is not here?

All the Things Which Are Not Here is based on Irina Gheorghe’s long-term research on these questions, interweaving performance, installation and photography. On the opening night, Gheorghe will introduce us to Preliminary Remarks on the Study of What Is Not There (2017-ongoing), a performance that evolves as a guided tour among all the things not present in the space: things which are and things which are not; things which could be and things which could not be. The performance unfolds into an imaginary map, in which previous sites of the performance appear as non-graspable presences.

The aim, however, is not to make things which are not there, somehow, be there; as soon as this happens, they no longer are things which are not there, they have become things which are there, so our endeavour has failed. This is not only true for the performance, but also for the site-specific installation that surfaces throughout the space to once again re-collect earlier performance iterations. The installation uses another type of cartography: mural interventions, made of tape surfaces, schematically layer fragments of previous scores. Here, primary colour codes and various degrees of mixing them correspond to a gradual categorization of the realm of the unobservable. The shapes scattered in space create a disjointed temporality; the ‘now’ of the present becomes distorted by its other ‘nows’.

Once again past is brought back: a series of photographs, Methods for the Study of What Is Not There (2018), presents the artist in stylised gestures. Once the live event has passed, it cannot be accessed again in its originary form; in the same way, realities that are not present cannot be made present without a change in their nature. Actions of measuring, classifying or dividing, which belong to scientific methodology, are now placed in relation to an absence. They become elements in a discontinuous process which cannot claim the more grounded character of knowledge produced about observable realities. The photographs translate the systematic approach taken by the tape cartography into a serial photographic method, increasing the contrast between a rigorous investigation and a not fully graspable object of research.

Upon entering the building, one gets a side glimpse of MA-TE-MA (2019): images based on a children’s game in which geometrical shapes become physical objects to be manipulated. The work raises questions of how to physically interact with the space of the mind, thus confronting the incongruous junction between science and poetics in an oblique manner. It recalls the wider research framework of Irina Gheorghe’s project: the idea of an unobservable reality in both scientific and philosophical realism. From undetectable subatomic particles to hypothetical cosmic entities such as alien life or Planet Nine, the current objects of scientific investigation have been challenging the empiric foundations of the natural sciences as they were established at the beginning of modernity. For things which are not here, the encounter between the conceptual and the physical might be shaped, rather than certainty, by disjunction and contradiction.

Curated by Viktoria Draganova

Courtesy of the artists and Swimming Pool
Photocredit Yana Lozeva