ON ABSTRACTION

group show curated by Eduarda Neves
24.03.23 - 21.04.23

The Green Parrot hosts On Abstraction, a project curated by Eduarda Neves.

Three diagnoses

“Many persons, not to say all, succumb to madness only from being too concerned about an object.”

— François Sauvages, “Nosologie,” in Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. 

 

“A canvas like The Bride is abstract, since there isn’t any figuration. But it isn’t abstract in the narrow sense of the word. It’s visceral, so to speak. When you see what the Abstractionists have done since 1940, it’s worse than ever, optical. They’re really up to their necks in the retina!”

— Marcel Duchamp, in Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp

 

“Empiricism is a mysticism of concept (…) which treats the concept as object of an encounter, as a here-and-now (…). Only an empiricist could say: concepts are indeed things, but things in their free and wild state, beyond ‘anthropological predicates’.”

— Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition

 

Seven possibilities

An object means both abstraction and extension. Distance and proximity. An object is a world. A poetics.

An object that displays no spatiotemporal properties but which we suppose does exist is an abstract being – or one that subsists, just like in medieval Scholasticism.

The object. What much be examined: philosophy, psychology, logic, art, politics, economics. What must be disturbed: hegemony, authority, boundaries, intention. To force the impossible. Deleuze and Guattari – abstraction and schizophrenia.

Objects summoned by the psychiatric and penal machines. Borderline. Repression. Perversion. Disorder. Psychosis. Neurosis. Hysteria. Infraction. Burnout. Compulsion. Flaw. Obsession. Abnormal. Deviation. Guilt and Truth.

The object. The muse-less museum. Administration-bound. No disquiet. A curiosity-less cabinet. Objects concealed by the mechanics of power. What sort of objects does the law bring forth? The administrative machine and its indispensable power effects: “… using the mediocre, useless, imbecilic, superficial, ridiculous, worn-out, poor and powerless functionary. The administrative grotesque has not been merely that kind of visionary perception of administration that we find in Balzac, Dostoyevsky, Courteline, or Kafka. The administrative grotesque is a real possibility for the bureaucracy.” (Michel Foucault, Abnormal. Lectures at the College de France)

The object means both transition and passage. Composition and decomposition. Event, Form, void, action, word, copy, model, simulacrum. Abyss. Infinite combination. A clash. An encounter: “It’s very difficult to choose an object, because, at the end of fifteen days, you begin to like it or to hate it.” (Marcel Duchamp, in Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp)

The object as fiction. The real. Lacan and speculative realism. D’avance. [B. B.] Borges and Beckett. The subject and the object. The egg and the chicken. Schrödinger’s thought experiment. The cat that is simultaneously dead and alive. Insurrection: “If Greek philosophy does not want to admit this relationship between word and thing, speech and thought, the reason no doubt is that thought had to protect itself against the intimate relationship between word and thing in which the speaker lives. The dominion of this ‘most speakable of all languages’ (Nietzsche) over thought eas so great that the chief concern of philosophy was to free itself from it.” (Hans-George Gadamer, Truth and Method). The critique of the fairness of words – interpreting Cratylus. Objects: (I) language as a collective mistake (II) oblivion.

“How real existence is to be studied or discovered is, I suspect, beyond you and me. But we admit so much, that the knowledge of things is not to be derived from names. No; they must be studied and investigated in themselves.” (Plato, Cratylus)

– Eduarda Neves

Participating artists:

Amarante Abramovici, Celeste Cerqueira, Darja Shatalova, João Enxuto e Erica Love, João Leonardo, João Tabarra, Maria Covadonga Barreiro, Manuel Santos Maia, Náhir Capêlo, Nuno Ramalho, Renata Portas, Ruca Bourbon a.k.a. Doutor Urânio, Sérgio Leitão, Silvana Ivaldi, Tânia Dinis