In a promotional interview about Mulholland Drive (2001) David Lynch said that using words to describe a piece deminishes the experience of the work. He used as an example that if you described a song, it would no longer be heard, the words would obscure the music. He adds that an artist, in his particular case, though film, some times has the oportunity to put across his ideas and when this happens its a marvellous experience. With these anwsers he evaided the tiraid of questions, although finally he gave some vague but vital explanations about the flow of his project, comparing his film to a road, in wich there are lineal stages and curves that follow the terrain.
Entre talud y cuneta (Between Gutter & Embankment), beggins with the a experience of trip by car of Timsam Harding; from the more mechanical trip to the most tedious of all: the one that takes us from home to our work space or back home from work.Full of automatism and reiterations, from repetition to bordem. Its a journey that predisposes atention to the reflexes for any kind of change. Agamben said that the shadows of the dead infinetly repeat the same gesture. Mecanical repetition goes hand in hand with routine, and with that bordem, a nesasary ally of any creative process. One of the autimatic reflexes that bordem activates is an observation with the lack of intention.
The past work of Timsam Harding shares a resemblanse with a part of the production from Robert Therrien where his sculptures take on an iconic character sufering a formal sintesis that would make them practicly bidimentional. These first works were constructions of volumeless bodies condesed to their minimal expretion, with industrial finishes of monocrome paint, underlinig its flatness. When we directly persive these works, it evokes images that emerge in the way of silueted cutouts from a scenografic landscape, in the course of a long highway journey. Pieces that take on the shape of an isocelies triangle, tooth shaped forms, a repetition, with small variations in size, of the image of a saw. Posible buildings, industries, cathedrals, metal structures or mountains in the horizon.
In the eighties artist Richard Prince created along side Colin de Land director of AFA gallery, American Fine Arts, the fictisious identity of John Dogg. The work of John Dogg was mainly based on making pieces around the car tyre, making all kinds of tyre’s, sleeves for spare tyres, boxes to store or move said tyres making aparent its sculptural nature to distinguish them as a funtional object or simply exibiting different tipes of tyres and worn down rubbers.
The conceptual photographer Ed Ruscha was always interested in the idea of the medium as a asistant for giveng shape to a set of personal rules more than a fisical medium in its self. On his behalf, the filosopher Stanley Cavell named this sistem of automated rules, focusing on the autoregulating caracter of the traditional estetic mediums. Ed Ruscha discovered a series of rules that allowed him to put in action his own conditional medium. This manifests itself in Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963). A series of images of petrol stations photografed in black and white, spesificly the twentysix petrol stations that exist allong the highway that joins Los Angeles, where the artist lived, with Oklahoma where his parents house was.
Perhaps one of the main pieces that articulate the show of Timsam Harding is Suceso 12 (2019). Maid up from a car tyre choked by the presure from a car jack against the rubber. Tyre and jack are surounded by a metal belt, a rectangle of sqare tubbing, that obliges these too objects to live together in a space to cramped to coexist. One of the vertices from the square part of the jack beggins to introduce its self in to rubber of the tyre, deforming and breaking the geometry of the circunference of the tyre. The figure that appears is the attempt of a new combination betwen both geometrical shapes.
Two other important pieces of Entre talud y cuneta (Between Gutter & Embankment) are Suceso 14 and Suceso 15 (2019) pieces that evidence remnace of a crash, vestige of a colision. These pieces invoke our figure and our own existance. Leaving a gap in the tight enviroment created by the rest of works, in wich the empathy with human existances exists. The relation with a road catastrophy is drawen with these broken glasses sowen by the hundreds of lines that are made by the glass that continue joined by a thin membrane behind the glass. The triangular shapes created by the broken glass resemblem the cels that become our skin. As the cloth is a substitute for the skin in the composition of barroc sculptures.
In the mid-sixties the sculptor Tony Smith revealed in an interview the importance that a road trip meant for him. The minimalist sculptor, along with three of his students from the Cooper Union, entered the unfinished New Jersey highway at night. Tony Smith stated that the experience had been revealing describing it thus: << It was a dark night and there were no lights or shoulder markers, lines, railings or anything at all except the dark pavement moving through the landscape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks, towers, fumes and colored lights. This drive was a revealing experience. The road and much of the landscape was artificial, and yet it couldn’t be called a work of art. On the other hand, it did something for me that art had never done [...] I thought to myself, it ought to be clear that’s the end of art. [...] There is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it [v].
[i] Roomroom6. (12 de mayo de 2011). David Lynch talks Mulholland Drive. [Archivo de vídeo]. Recuperado de https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf1sfVpw9OY
[ii] RAMÍREZ, Juan Antonio (2000). Duchamp: el amor y la muerte, incluso. Ediciones SIRUELA, Madrid.
[iii] KRAUSS, Rosalind E (2004). RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, No. 46, «Polemical Objects»/«"Specific" Objects». President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Mulholland Drive (2001) ment a shift in the paradigm of the alternative narrativ, something that its author, David Lynch, had been doing previously. Lynch has always been relouctant about questions that requiere explanations about his creations. In a promotional interview about the above mentioned film he comented that to explain verbaly what a artistic creation meant, in his case a film, was similar to describing a dream to a friend. When you narrate a dream, as you put it in to words, you can see by his expretion the lack of understanding, words fail you, but deep down you know exacly what it is you wish to express and he adds that its not difficult to understand if you trust your inner feelings: «It’s a new world experience, and that if there is problems to understand it, its our intuition thats not fooling us [i]».
This exibition parts from two ideas, two shapes, almost oposit, almost complementary. On one hand the inclination of an enbankment, a surface that rises and sostaines, it defines; on the other hand, the verge channel, a depretion in a wedged shaped inverted triangle, a ditch to avoid flooding the road. Two words that defines and levels a road, rendering a free trajectory. The shape that converges betwen them could be the brow of the hill. A moment where the road plan changes shape, a point with low visibility that can endager the passing of two vehicules traveling in oposit directions. This is probably the moment that Timsam Harding finds himself.
A journey in car is a kind of conditional alusination with a induced vision. The vehicule poses as a artefact that projects images of wich its capable of crosing and traveling fisicly. The experience of driving, the journey by car, is a perseptive experience. It manifests in the funcion of the eye, the capacity of aprehending a image trough a play with the depth of field, perspective, vanishing points in continous changing spaces and points of view. Trees, sings, landscape, apear as a sucesion of bidimentional images that on ocasions gain form as they apear in the macula of the eye to rid of the kinetic lines trough the periferal vision. Mountains, houses, street lamps, shapes that emerge as if cut outs from a stage set.
The first object to be introduced as a ready made by Marcel Duchamp was his Roue de Bicyclette (1913). In his Paris studio he mounted a bicycle tyre, inverting its usual orientation, on a wooden stool. At first there was no intention in his first found objects. Duchamp claimed he simply enjoyed looking at them “as much as i like watching flames dance”[ii]. This piece is considered the first kinetic sculpture.
Rosalind Krauss uses the greek word auto to refer to its own connotation and finds a relation betwen the meanings of automatism and automobile reveling a encounter between car and medium [iii]. Pointing out the realtion between both words, Krauss reveals a link beween car and medium, furthermore where medium becomes a specific medium. To travel by car becomes an artistic practise. This way of confronting the medium as the basis of the artistic practise is what Rosalind Krauss called post-media condition. Krauss uses Ruscha’s series of petrol station photographs as an example, where a mundane and routine trip becomes the material and creative medium.
I remember a book from Raymond Queneau, Aux confins des ténèbres where he investigates amoungst libraryes and psiquiatric wards for writings on outsiders, the mad and the damned with an obsesive and sickening theme [iv]. He dedicates various chapters to registring the multiple atemps to solving the most absurd of problems that could exist, the sqaring of a circle. It could be that Timsam has proposed to himself an imposible exersive very similar to this absurdity and that each piece is a result of this intent. Or maybe he is simply transfering the experience by wich they were generated, by draging us to access this experience from a different starting point. The same landscape seen from a different perspective.
In Crash (1996), a film by David Cronenberg, we are presented with one of the most evident manifest of what is understood as new skin. The film takes us close to a couple that enjoy car crashes in a sadic and paraphilic way. The couple come in contac with a group of people that take on the task of provoking accidents. This distopia exposes one of the inherent ideas in the work of Cronenberg trough the desire of one of its protagonist, the retourn to the inorganic state, the final trip, death.
A few years ago I had a personal experience that disturbed me during some time and I haddent thought of it until resently the work of Timsam reminded me. A sculptor friend of mine and I where traveling in the early hours of the morning to install a large format sculpture in another city, Castellón. The trip was long, and for hours we journied by night the empty highways. On one of these infinite sections of road, in adition to our exhaustion from days without sleep preparing the comission, there was an added estetical experience provoqued by astate of awe. We felt like two headlights that were crosing pitch darkness in a matematical straight line. Pased some time of contemplation my friend said<<We are the red-hot tip of the knife that pierces reality, melting it like butter>>. The road opens as we advance and the landscape springs up in the darkness” We continued the rest of the trip in silence.
Álvaro Albaladejo Sierra
[iv]QUENEAU, Raymond (2004). En los confines de las tinieblas: los locos literarios. Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría, Madrid.
[v] WAGSTAFF, Samuel (1966) Talking with Tony Smith, Artforum, New York, pp. 14-19.