Digital animation and drawing
Duración: 211 seg.
Dimension: 56 x 76 cm                                                        
Graphite on cotton paper
Edition 4 + 1 PA

One can put up with falling down, standing up, falling down again and standing up again if the sequence does not repeat itself too many times, but, what happens when falling is the norm and standing still is just an event? Many things happen, but among them is the ebbing of one’s own energies in the face of having to stand up again. At its turn, this weakening of oneself demands more physical and psychic energies for the next time we must pull ourselves together, making it less attractive at the ever more certain foresight of plunging again.

Then, why should we keep trying to stand up, if it requires a willful effort that does not guarantees our success? Or, saying it in other terms, why should we strive to find an alternative path, if the future can be precisely predicted? Entering into a vicious cycle is imminent: to stand up, to fall down, to wane, to try to pull ourselves together, to fall again, to get frustrated, to want to fly over, to stumble, to despair, to loose hope and, lastly, to predict our own ending.

The constant and boring plunging experienced by the artist, has recently taking him to surrender to his downfall through his artistic production. If we cannot defeat our enemies, we should join them. The animated video shows different downfalls in an uninterrupted way that little by little accumulate, forming a black mass, which is a metaphor for an identity that has been blurred after the changes. On the other hand, the drawings serve as a detailed analysis of the plunges, seen through the play of the photograms that compose the animation. These shots show the deformities, the nuances and many of the building blocks that form the base for the later downfalls. Finding the point of no return, when failure repeats itself, could be facilitated by watching these film stills in slow motion, and with dedication.

I write this text while flying to Madrid when a plane crash is a terrifying possibility. If it were to happen, these words will not only be a prediction, but they will also change their status immediately: from a more or less well-developed exhibit text, to a consternation and focus point of the exhibit (taking away the flare of the artists and nourishing its own discourse). These types of coincidences create a morbid curiosity, like the book found in the ticket booth of the artist Bas Jan Ader, after his mysterious shipwreck and that, coincidentally, was about a sailor that loses his life in a lonely
voyage.[1] But, going beyond the weight and quality of the art works of the Dutch conceptual artist, one cannot deny that his early disappearance at 33 years old (continuing with strange coincidences) gave him the fame he has today. Tragedy brings about fame and creates heroic characters.  

Ader’s preferred subject was the same one fueling this exhibit: the downfall. However, he used it as a symbol of existential freedom, while this animated video refers to a fatidic and unsurmountable destiny for which there seems to be not many options. Just watching it —almost as an act of personal exorcism— allow us to get closer to an autonomy that comes from acceptance.

The idea of recognition, in all its forms, lures the entire exhibit: first, regarding the artist’s authorship, as a public figure, subject to social judgement; second, referring to the individual’s identity that mutates every step of the way (or downfall) and that, lastly, to the permanence of the subject beyond his death, that is to say, to his potential transcendence.

The artist asks himself who he is and if there is someone capable of recognizing him, including himself. But we cannot predict exactly the answer, as suggested by this exhibits title, but we can get accidentally truthful conclusions, paraphrasing Ader.[2]

Nerea Ubieto, 2017.

[1] From the book The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst.

[2] The artist talks about his intentions to do a project that he never completed: "I want to make a piece where I go to the Alps and talk to a mountain. The mountain will speak to me about things that are necessary and always true, and I will tell it about things that are, sometimes, accidentally true."