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A_biography

Artist: Alexander Schellow
video | animation 16:9, b+w, silent, loop | 09:19 | 2016

A_biography is the trace left by an encounter. For years I visited a woman in a clinic who had long suffered from Alzheimer’s and lost all possibility of remembering, even the very possibility of realizing herself by situating her perception of only one particular point in time and space (in the past) from only one other point (in the present). Neither could she name an object and thereby say “I” precisely through this relation to the object. Vis-à-vis her “self,” the woman was in a shifting state of constant transformation on the outer surface of a body of memory that was now closed; a state analogous to the one preventing her from identifying something or someone—“me,” for example, at the other end of the room. Here, “I” is not a state. It represents an inexistent point of overlapping processes of (un)consciousness. Then, who was I who sat vis-à-vis her all these years? Later in the studio I reconstructed her image in a perpetual process of memory-work through drawing. This praxis that remembers in and through structures of spots existed long before our first encounter. It formed and continues to form the foundation of my engagement with questions of remembering and forgetting. After a few years “she,” who was once a gymnastics teacher (but this may be just one possible version of the narrative), began to dance. Let’s assume she was a gymnastics teacher: the inscribed trace of movement rises to the surface of her body and there meets acoustic space (a radio, rattling plates, the occasional footsteps, or sounds from outside). Never before had my own drawing from memory encountered such a short-circuiting splice of content and structure. The individual seems to nearly disappear in this zone, and yet the space to which the trace of an uninterrupted mental mobility refers is not primarily a void—neither a void of identity nor a void of meaning. Quite the opposite: the drawings state and form a material space of memory without remembering.

Exhibitions

2016 Taipei Biennial – Gestures and archives of the present, genealogies of the future | 2016.09.10 - 2017.02.05 | Taipei Fine Arts Museum(TFAM)(Taibei, China)

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