The Language of Dots
Text concerning paintings and installations made up of dots (2006-2008)
Dots to touch
Dots to fathom
To gain access to spaces
With diffuse forms and enigmatic structures
Like the depths of matter, the haze of the atom
Or the unconquered stretches
In the infinity of the cosmos and that of man
Do shadowy areas commingle
In the fundamental exchange between thought and matter
And what resemblance is there between the hidden landscape
And the other sides of knowledge?
Knowledge has its own tools to grapple with
The strange and incomprehensible;
It plumbs and takes samples
It makes signs to the unknown
Sets out its dots to throw out feelers
In the invisible its dots are its eyes
Its transmission bubbles leading to the air in the head
Marbles which roll between thought and the unthought
Messengers of essential shadow
Part of a text presenting the exhibition ‘Entrevoir’at the ‘Attrape-Couleurs’ [gallery?], Lyon, July 2004.
How can we see without immediately ascribing meaning to what we see, a name, a reason? Or again, linking it to a reference, something else we have seen before? However natural and spontaneous these operations may be, they withdraw at the very moment when the object’s physical, atomic and luminous reality invades the eyes. In this way, one part of sight, the substantial and silent part, is blotted out in favour of the other, the part which speaks and creates meaning. The invisible veils in equal measure that which escapes from sight and that which escapes from reason. It contains what the reading eye does not see, because it prefers a mental translation to the language of light itself, and it contains what the human eye cannot see, the particles and currents in movement or the wavelengths which go beyond the solar spectrum.
Like the visible, the projection of which into thought inhabits fantasy, the invisible is also in relation with a part of consciousness: a perceptible presence one feels without proof. The question of the unnameable.
Physics and Painting
Text for the ‘Transitions’ exhibition at the Atomic Energy Commission, Cadarache, in the Science Library, June 2008
Questions concerning the invisible have always interested painters.
Of course it is not exactly the same ‘invisible’ dealt with by physicists who seek to grasp the structure and principles of matter at its most micro- and macroscopic scales. Nor is it a question of the same levels of thought. Truth in physics depends on the researcher separating his rational judgments from his subjective feelings. Painting, on the other hand, arises from the irrational, from the ancient mystical relationship between man and his universe and which escapes from scientific knowledge.
So the invisible which underlies painting is multiple and in the painter’s inner subjectivity links what escapes from sight with what escapes knowledge. And what a painter finally exhibits is a rational image but which has travelled through the lands of the irrational. Painting is a space the tension of which comes from its plastic properties, but also from the relation between form and formlessness, between the visible and the invisible, between the recognizable and the unknowable.
The scientist and he artist both observe the same physical qualities of the visible but they exploit them differently. Whereas the physicist translates his observations into the jargon of physics, the artist invents her own language over and over again; outside speech, outside the meanings of everyday language, outside academic explanations.
Beyond their areas of specific thought, they are both concerned with the same question: how to grasp what escapes and appears ungraspable?
Before the Word
Text presenting the exhibition ‘Avant le Mot’ at the Nice University of the Humanities, 2007.
la matière tendre et diffuse
toute en fondues fluctuations
une forme mentale s'en dégage
dure comme nombre ou parole
This work is an outcrop of a larger project dealing with the problem of sight as the primordial medium of experience and, like a negative, of the invisible which underlies or even is a condition for the visible. The central theme of the research is light, and in most of the experiments it is real palpable light which constructs or deconstructs a space, which thus becomes a plastic space.
In the series of works presented here the question is to a certain extent that of the other side of light. Like seeing through the known surface towards other scales of existence, like an unformed environment, another state of the same substance which a radiation reveals, beyond the solar spectrum, and which remains unnamed.
Faced with any given object the mind is stimulated and looks for a way in. But how can one read if there is no image-or rather how can one see outside the image? The only thing left is to feel the unformed, to sound what is felt, grasp its resonances, or even to translate the nebulous into something intelligible. A whole process, a whole secret territory, before light, before the word.
Text for the review Alliages n°63, October 2008 as an introduction to the dossier on the work of Ramifications.
It is a question of going back to the roots to extract the initial form. Or even the founding element, before the form: where does it start from? As if there was, before anything, an elusive movement from which arises, by a series of coincidences, a principle of assembling and repetition, which will become the skeleton of a being, of a space. But before becoming it is nothing but a drawing, a feeling of propagation. Or simply the idea of one direction.
For example, from one line two, always at the same angle, a symmetrical doubling, constant and reassuring. However, imperceptible displacements induce deflection. However, certain lines stop at an unforeseen instant. As if there is a resistance in the original air. So suddenly that which should fill the space in a regular way becomes uncertain.
From a regular principle there grows an irregular one the form of which cannot be known in advance. [ Fr p. 3]
Before the form there is the sketch of its project. It announces how an impulse will cross the formless expanse; how this formlessness will find itself structured by the current to come; in what way a meaning will penetrate an undifferentiated environment. And how that which is nothing becomes something. The ramifications resemble such a sketch.
It is impossible to determine whether this structuralisation is living or crystalline or mineral. Nor can one know whether it is a mental projection of a secret of matter, or an immaterial network. All we can know is the expansive nature of the impulse. We also know that this internal structure usually remains invisible; that generally the form of a movement of becoming cannot be extracted alone.
We can only set traps, captors which will seize and light up a fragmentof the structuralisation . And this seizure would immobilize it to make of it an object of contemplation.
The captors – metal, paper, paint – are sensitive surfaces on which traces of a vaster crossing of unknown dimension are printed. Or they may be magnifying glasses of a more microscopic event; or kinds of filters whose role would be to extract from the set of the invisibly intermingled currents a single one, the one which obeys the constraint of doubling at a constant angle.
The fact remains that whatever its nature, whatever correspondences exist, that a space opens out, outside the surface and outside of the verticals and horizontals formed by a wall or a window; or a man standing up and his gaze. The print of water or light reveals the sketch of a possible movement. It continues its arborescence in thought.
© Martina Kramer, 2014
photographs: Jean de Breyne, Jacques Huissoud, Martina Kramer, Fedor Vučemilović (pour Galerija Karas), Boris Cvjetanović (pour Galerija Klovićevi dvori); site realisation: Darko Kramer