Text for the catalogue of the exhibition 12 views
For some years now I have been keeping a news item cut from a London newspaper: "Baby died beneath drunk babysitter." Apparently the babysitter had too many glasses of cider and sat on the sofa without realizing that the baby she was guarding was there as well (I wonder who, besides those involved in the tragedy and myself, remembers this story).
It doesn't matter what I did with the story. I reference it here because it exemplifies two issues that generally call my attention: the accident and the leftover. One alludes to the story itself, the other to what happens when it becomes news. The tragic tale of the baby is one of the infinitely unlikely accidents that comprise reality. It is dizzying to think of the variables that had to come together for the event to happen: The parents going out, the amount of alcohol, the place on the sofa, the time, the baby's small slide into the wrong place. The only difference with other, less tragic, events is an appearance in the news. But the notoriety of the story is fleeting: the news item quickly recedes as the reader turns the page, the baby gets lost among politicians, race horses, and comic strip characters, and becomes a leftover. The circle quickly closes: knowledge, terror, and forgetfulness.
I cannot explain why I address my attention to that which invariably is left to one side: police blotter news, the poetically pretentious phrases that illustrate horror scenes, words taken out of context, love messages lost in newspapers, advertising copy, obituaries, the names that appear after "the end" in the movies, texts that nobody reads. I can't explain my interest in the margin because I have not a clue about the reason, and I don't believe having an explanation is that important. Seeing with detachment, there is not that much difference between textual refuse and the wood planks I picked up on the street to make sculptures with ten years ago. They are remains belonging to different categories, but remains nonetheless.
I wonder if my work with refuse is a primitive and degenerate form of photography; both try to stop or slow down deterioration and vanishing.