So what is it that we desire, but never fully get? In times of intensified political factions, joined by the repression of collective memory and mutual care, it might be self-understanding and—perhaps—unity. A central question for most humanism and activism today is how to come together beyond populism while not simply preaching to the choir.
The sea is more political than one might think. That space of indistinction and disorder from which all life forms emerged, as many myths remind us, has since antiquity been considered an unfriendly entity. Jason or Ulysses didn’t leave land lightheartedly.
The Wikipedia entry for the city of Timișoara mentions, among its relevant historical facts, that in 1884 it became the first mainland European town to be lit by electric streetlamps. Novelizing—or speculating?—a bit, this might have been because during autumn and winter, frequent continental polar air masses coming from the east invade the Banat region—candle or gas-lit streetlamps, presumably, could barely resist these blasts.
Misshapen, often unfinished, or just a little broken, leaning on crutches or held up with braces, skulkingly unemployed or like lost intellectuals, hitched to each other and their worldviews, debating escape, Nairy Baghramian’s sculptures are held together with surprising humor and spatial intelligence. Angular and sensual, animal and inanimate, ethereal yet and freighted with gravitas of physical presence, sometimes they reflect back on themselves as loose, provisional sketches. In their inchoate and otherworldly shapeliness, I feel like the work of Nairy Bagramian needs us.
Often considered to be one of the crucial voices of queer postconceptual art, Henrik Olesen’s retrospective at Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid stages various episodes of a drastic shift in the artist’s attitude, moving from political awareness-raising ever deeper into the intricacies of the self.