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  • Text for the Catalogue of the exhibition Incidental Music at Ruth Benzacar Gallery

Text for the Catalogue of the exhibition Incidental Music at Ruth Benzacar Gallery

Belén Gache | 1998

A broken piece of glass, found in the street by chance, presents a series of peculiar cracks, caused by a peculiar form of breakage, again by chance. Next to it, another piece of glass reproduces exactly the same cracks. And now, there is not so much certainty about the role of chance. The cracks of the first piece of glass look like strokes in some writing we cannot yet decode. The strokes are repeated in the other glass, identically, like in a parallel universe, like in a mirror.

The word “mirror” comes from the Latin word “speculum”. To speculate was to observe the movement of stars in the sky through a mirror. As if by observing them on the mirror surface we would be able to get some kind of knowledge about the universe. The mirror is also tangible evidence of the existence of parallel worlds. Let us remember Alice entering the room “where everything is the same, only the other way round”, on the other side of the mirror. The reflection on the mirror duplicates the world. A series of similar worlds proliferate on mirrors, which, in their infinitude, provoke a complete off-centering of the universe.

Gnostics used to believe that the universe was a mirror, an inverted copy of the celestial order.

The Hindus expected from the mirror the revelation of the last big secret: eventually everything is a reflection and the world of shapes reflected is nothing but another aspect of emptiness. Borges, in his story “The Mirror of Enigmas” insists on the hieroglyphic nature of every creature of the world. Each of them is a kind of mirror upon which the divine message is reflected; each of them is a surface where that message might possibly be deciphered.


A septentrional sun gets in through the Rotterdam studio window . The artist observes the shadow of the window frame on the floor: a cross of shadow, an image that moves around the room as the afternoon goes by. This image will also form part of the secret language of the universe. The point of shadow determined by the intersection of the two axes on the window is never twice the same. It always occupies a different, though cyclic space-time determined by the solar revolution. In that cross of roads two entities –two vehicles- meet by chance, accidentally, alien to the stars ancestral routine.

In its blind, routinary, millenarian movement, the sun creates ephimeral roads of shadow. It builds intangible roads, interwoven where certain fates will be constituted as such. Fate might be etched by these intangible roads as inexorably as hand lines. The sun moves forward implacably, completely ignoring the vehicles, which are absolutely insignificant to it.

However, as it moves it forms these roads, and the only reason for them to exist is to make these vehicles meet. The vehicles move forward unready for what will happen next. They go through those roads which they ignore to have been previously established.

Like someone who passes by a sign of such dimensions that it is impossible to take the necessary distance to read it.

Crossing of fates. Crossing of roads. Crossroads. Traditionally, crossroads have been sacred places. The crossing of roads makes us face an option that is only apparent. Like Oedipus: Oedipus reaches the crossroads where, ignoring his whole past, he will unknowingly kill his father. Oedipus and fate, anticipated by oracles that intended to be ingenuously ridiculed.

On each side of the way, a threshold where one will never again be the same person, from a traveller to a parricide, from a seer to a blind man, from a king to a beggar. The vehicles meet at the crossroad and that encounter will condition their existences forever. Man, who intends to be the vehicle driver is in reality the driven one. Vehicles, like fate, drive man through undecipherable ways.


The staves of the incidental music scores made up by lines taken from newspaper police sections, produce peculiar sounds. These are determined by the existence and layout of those pieces of news. These sounds, not others.

News of violence and blood. Again, places where fates meet, space-time places wherefrom the universe of those involved in the incident will never again be the same, where the entrance to the dimension on the other side of the mirror is completely irreversible.

Cortázar, in his short story “ La Autopista del sur”, speaks about this highway where, due to reasons everyone speculated about but no one could really know, a peculiar space-time configuration had been produced bringing about a crossing of fates on a jammed highway. Vehicles crossed one another by chance there. Relationships were born among them. Their occupants fell in love, got pregnant, died.

Then cars moved forward, the configuration broke, relationships got lost forever, like hazardous shapes in a kaleidoscope, and as soon as the kaleidoscope starts to rotate, they vanish.

This is the way the universe language is created along with its invisible pattern, its secret shape. ¿Chance or determination? ¿order or chaos? And eventually, the suspicion that chaos could make sense. The difference, like Borges put it, could lie on whether the world is governed by a deity or not; or in any case, on discovering whether it is a god whose wise intentions are unintelligible to human mind or whether this deity is arbitrary, evil, insane, incompetent like those mentioned in gnostic theogonies.