Good OK Great Fantastic Perfect Grand Thank You: Tobias Spichtig
Art — 17.12.21
Words: Brit Parks
Photographer: Tobias Spichtig
Images courtesy of Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York
“Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.”
Sol LeWitt, 1969
I don’t mind you acting like David Bowie. We all need a gig. I don’t care if you echo lines that went extinct with the Medicis. They may have been scarce on mirrors, but my God they spent a lot of time staring at their own image. Do we hate mirrors but feel like we are drowning without them. Is black pigment a couleur? I feel like people deserve to have a non-couleur.
With vacuous cases once prized for polish, we can now see a reflection. That Cartier watch you couldn’t afford is gone. The redundancy of post-modern forms is the new definition of absence. Those Terra Cotta Soldiers were never meant to be seen. They made every single one with an individual face and buried them. That’s paramount confidence, or perhaps fear as installation. We set up our fortunes like we know they are coming. Someone is always coming. Covering a gallery in mirrors is a way to see it coming.
He was there. He didn’t miss his own show. He didn’t leave you alone with it.
The architecture of the damned we cooed practical in sixties modernism. The eighties forms of excess we deemed exalted when we didn’t know what else to say to the ceiling. A materialism junkie will tell you there are endless metal threads deserving of a category. A straight line is not going to ask as many questions as braided steel. And then hardware is practically a death trap. There are a thousand drawers of different screws which is just another way to say we cannot agree. We are no longer slowed down by stagecoach-born messages, we stockpile material like a sinking pool begging for a hose.
Remember, formalism is here. It’s an inevitable pushback. You can attempt to forget them, you can despise their calculations but the history of history is merciless. A painting hanging from the ceiling seems less probable. A long bagless human dragging from the ceiling is form. Maurizio Cattelan already broke our hearts with that horse longing form to death.
The representation of what. If someone wanted you to know they would have left a letter. Instead, you are a knight spilling out of someone’s round table vicious in armor, you see a battle afar. The fields are pitch dark, your light is the only one left to tell your story. You see a light show, you’re alone. You are the only one on earth with those eyes. You are certain there have been more eyes than raindrops in history. You return to your canvas and tell it of the battle. You return to composition and ask for missing pieces.
This room is a composition constructed from bin thieves except everyone wore gloves. Those mirrors are for your eyes, those cases are for what they stole. Bowie was just visiting but insisted on painting a mirror above his eyes. We are soot reborn, we are dark souls recrying their nights, we are lost in empty things.
Now you don’t feel so absent.
You can go see Tobias Spichtig’s exhibit until 9 Jan 2022 at the Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York.