Sunday, October 2, 2011

"One Floor Up More Highly"

"Rather than choosing between painting being a window and painting being flat, I view everything as a window: you're a window, the window is a window, the car is a window. For me, everything is an illusionistic surface, and painting is a mode of thought--a way to link these illusionistic elements together."--Katharina Grosse on her current exhibition entitled "One Floor Up More Highly" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts.

I already ascribe to the idea that everything is a mirror--you're a mirror, a mirror is a mirror, a car is a mirror. Ha. Every single thing, every "illusionistic surface" is in essence a mirror that reflects us back to ourselves. What we love, we love because it shows us what we love about ourselves. What we despise, we do so because it reflects back to us those traits we'd rather deny.

If I consider that a window can also be a mirror, then what Grosse suggests is that beyond the reflection we see there exists another, if not multiple, dimension(s), which if the surface is viewed from a particular angle or with enough concentrated effort, might be perceived.

What, then, does lie behind the glass? Behind the canvas, the concrete, the steel constructions that populate our cityscape? What does it take to perceive it? And if it can be perceived, can it not also be entered, explored, occupied? Here is Katharina Grosse's representation of what's there, dormant, until we perceive it. Are these not the vestments of those who have ventured thus far?

A window is a window, you are you, a car is a car. Or perhaps, for a moment, in the shadow of an enormous iceberg rising out of rainbow-colored earth beneath halogen lights, some number of individuals traversed the glass, doffed their worldly garments, their weight, their very memory of gravity which had kept them rooted to the real.

Once naked, they lifted off, one by one, the insubstantial quality of their physical bodies finally confirmed, their spirits soaring on light-filtered air, unrestrained and liberated unnaturally--but oh, so beautifully--from the fear of death, which is the only limitation that counts for anything in this world. I reject that fear, though it be based on what is indeed the only certainty we have in this life.

With one leg out the window, I look back over the landscape of the real. What I have lived these many years. What I know. Perhaps there is yet a choice to be made which has nothing to do with paintings or windows...and everything to do with life.

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