Elin Gonzalez at Lucas Hirsch

Artist: Elin Gonzalez

Exhibition title: Purify/Rot

Venue: Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf, Germany

Date: March 10 – April 27, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Dear E.,

I took the steeper route home this evening to avoid a black cat. In the old castle on the other side of the valley I noticed flickering lights.

I spent a long time reading and looking at the text fragments and images that you sent me. I must confess, a feeling of anxiety came over me while examining them, that would not dissipate too quickly. Your turn toward the dance of the dead and the alterable states of physical existence gave me a sense of grim inevitability.

The moldy flesh hangs shredded from the bones of your dancing skeletons, the materiality of their bodies is more similar to that of the forest floor than the plants that grow from it. You pointed out to me that all of your skeletons do slightly smile, which makes them appear almost gleeful. It’s true. Their dizzying dance and the medieval tones of their music have a joyous effect and are filled with levity. It is as if, with the decomposition of their cellular bodies, they have come closer to a purified state. We become a fertile soil.

The longing to be salvaged by the human form’s transition into that of the plant is, at the heart of it, a longing for the earthly in timeless accord; the desire to measure up to all the conditions of becoming and—perhaps anxiously—to listen to the old, silent music.

Sink into contemplation of the diverse forms of life on a small patch of the forest floor. Pay attention to the smallest detail. Count what can be seen and begin to discern the heaps of individuals contained within the multitude. Discover the different kinds of lichens. Count the scales of the pine cones and the legs of the critters. Notice the reflections in the fresh resin and, depending on the season, the small lacerations and growths on the skin of individual fungi. Notice thorns and moths, spider eggs, and the scattered pebbles’ pattern. The coherence you long for, can be anticipated here at least.

Blend these ingredients in accordance to the ancient rituals. From the amalgam that they form under the influence of your thoughts and sayings, shapes will emerge that are, like the egg, impure figures of transition. They have not yet completed the process of dissolution. They are in the process of becoming, and they sense that by the time they are to reach the state of complete purity, they will no longer be.