The shortest short-story ever written,...
Patrizio Di Massimo, Justin Gainan and Steve Van den Bosch
1 May—1 June 2008
Performance conceived by Patrizio Di Massimo on the 1st of May
The show mirrors the short story written on the recto. Dissimilar but conceptually loaded, the works of Patrizio Di Massimo, Justin Gainan and Steve Van den Bosch are positioned in the space with no apparent reciprocal connection. The viewer is thus called upon to make choices and to fill the gaps in the readability of the pieces on display.
A feeling of expectation seems to work as linking thread between the three different practices, challenging the viewer with the feeling of their self-awareness as observers. Only a pointing finger seems to be offered and the artworks ask to take an active role in their perception.
Patrizio Di Massimo introduces an almost mythological temporal dimension by inserting different sets of references and quotations into the works. He applies an ironic attitude together with a strongly codified set of images to provoke the viewer’s visual imagination. In such an endless collection of formal and conceptual allusions, the viewer is asked to choose what to believe and what to discard.
With no apparent connections with any visual reference, Justin Gainan tests his artistic practice with self-imposed tasks that he performs meticulously until he establishes that a result has been reached. Rebuilding the surface of a wall as smoothly as possible, filling the entirety of a sheet of paper with undecipherable patterns or simply tapping a piece of paper with a pencil for a set amount of time. Precisely when the viewer realises that there is nothing specific to see, the awareness of his/her position of ‘spectator in search of a meaning’ arises.
The minimal and sometimes dry interventions of Steve Van den Bosch balance between invisibility and straight materiality. He introduces self-constructed systems to track the possibly faulty outcomes of any linear reasoning via continuous subjective speculation. As a straight line connecting two separate points of a thought, Steve’s work faces the inevitable consequences embedded in any conceptual gesture; everything has its resonance and therefore any action could be inscribed into a system, even if this would imply guessing the laws of its own functioning.
“Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí” is a short story by Augusto Monterroso(1959) and the text that follows it, is FormContent’s interpretation.
When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there
He awoke. That’s the first given element. He awoke from being asleep, we suppose. A long sleep or a short sleep, a night’s sleep or a day’s sleep? This we cannot tell.
Anyway, he awoke. Where? It is not clear: in his room, in a remote corner of the earth, in a space one would expect to share with a dinosaur, or none of these places. It could be in another time or on another planet. We do not have this information.
The dinosaur is still there, is the other given element to our story. We can’t say why the animal is sharing a space with the man, how it got there and what will happen when they will eventually acknowledge their reciprocal presence.
If we think about it, we can’t even be sure of their physical proximity. There is no real given clue that the two protagonists are concretely one next to the other. We could be facing a case of a witty intervention concocted by the author, a parallelism between two separate events created by the writer who possibly never considered proximity. Maybe he simply suggested that the two characters existed somehow and somewhere simultaneously.
We can’t even imagine what had happened before, what would be the relationship between the two protagonists; if there is one. And if there was, which event brought them together?
The only certainties in the content given are ‘time’ and ‘existence’. They are both somewhere and they both ‘are’, once he awoke. But claiming more than this would be pure supposition. From here onwards, to complete the story, putting together the pieces and drawing a meaningful shape, is our main challenge. It seems clear that the few words about the two characters of the story, the man and the dinosaur, disclose a third and more fundamental one: The reader. A reader that carries expectations, desires and impulses. The short story plays with these necessities, scattering them onto the table and asking to build them up again, to guess, to enjoy this freedom. In this position we have the opportunity to feel our fragile nature of ‘thinking bodies’.
The story turns into a creative reaction of the reader’s mind: Could it be us that made the dinosaur share a space with the awakened man?