In an essay presented to the 16th Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in 1949 the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan located the formation of the self in the mirror reflection. Identity, as Lacan understood it, arose in the recognition of the image as oneself. For the most part the representation in art of the human form has followed the same model: by playing the role of the mirror, the art work re-enacts the moment of recognition in an exchange that ultimately reassures the viewer – Natalie Haddad
In a not-so-secluded, but unforgiving room on the fourth floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, three of David Claerbout’s videos formed a claustrophobic horseshoe of exuberance and brutality – Eugenia Bell
I have visited a strange and beautiful place, a land containing creatures and locations that are fantastical but somehow familiar. A negative world. A landscape unknown. So close, but as yet undiscovered.
While some people may think that most of their local landscapes have been discovered and photographed ad-nauseum, I have sought out the landscapes of my imagination. However, these are not photoshop creations but real places. Illuminating the dark spaces beneath rocks and trees by viewing them in negative I have unearthed a landscape previously unknown to me. What you see in them is only limited by your imagination. This journey is ongoing.
Edward Chell’s work explores a matrix of connected ideas centred on taxonomies and extinction, thresholds and boundaries, borders and hinterlands. For instance, his recent project Soft Estate investigated the aesthetics and ecology of motorway landscapes in relation to the 18th Century Picturesque. Chell uses such sites to foreground colliding narratives through painting and a wide range of media.
As Defacing art project comes to an end, I wanted to clarify its bases.
Defacing art project was imagined with a simple idea, naturally, to change the perception of the past and to create a new future, which will in turn become our present. As impossible as it may seem, it was poetic and plausible to me.
‘Living in the past’ is a condition of many immigrants, and I wanted to change this aspect of their lives. It is this way with my family, my people and all those who are in this situation of emotional limbo. Defacing Art project allows for the public to contribute to the artwork by painting on it, a real visual therapy. Rebuilding or maculating an iconographic image of our past can potentially change it or the perception of it, and then build a different future from this new landmark. Defacing is a project that invites to experiment with icons in the present while being aware that this is relative to the past.