Archives of the Innerness
All the titles of the works used were taken from the artist’s book Blaufuks, published in Madrid in 2007. Some of these works have different original titles.
A ticket to the movies or a train ticket remained forgotten in the pocket of a jacket. An envelope with a postal stamp, maybe sent from Antwerp, was left on a table. One album with photographs, with relatives we don’t even know the names of, is kept in the shoe-closet of the old wardrobe. These sorts of things, which are part of an immediate and banal reality, have always populated the photography and art of Daniel Blaufuks. However, they always keep pace with the seriousness we can find in his approaches to ancient classicism (Nude Torso, 1996), to the dreadfulness of the Holocaust (Mein Kampf, 2003) or to Christianity (Cross, 2004 and Crucifixion, 2002-03), or even to the complexity of daily existence (A Sense of Reality, 2003, Parade, 1999-2003, Man Is A Wolf To Man, 2003-06 or Street of the Lonely, 2007).
The simplicity represented by these objects has multiple readings, from the simple acknowledgement that the world exists, to the assertion of the most complex staging, illumination or sophistication of the judgment one might find in the elaboration of the pictures mentioned above. It means even more than that. It means that I know the world exists in what is left of this movie ticket that was first forgotten, amidst the pocket fluff in the jacket, and that I finally preserved in order to ascribe it an affective burden through a diaristic reconstruction. I am in this piece of paper that holds the inscription of the numbers of a row and a seat, the time and day of a movie session, just as I am in the extension of its visual field.
To go beyond the judgment (just as the remainder of a movie ticket or a stamp Blaufuks standardized the image of a Russian stamp in Zeppelin, c.1998) «I know the world exists in this movie ticket», to reach the judgment «and I am in the extension of its visual field», is to go from the visible to the thinkable. It is to set out on a curve, its point of departure the date of the movie ticket found and later filed, that is so inclusive that it reaches the cinema chair and the narrative of a movie as a remote limit, and in an unlimited way the experience of facts that afflicted the visual field of the photographer and accompanied him to the clearest and the darkest affections of his inner self.
According to Daniel Blaufuks, the works presented in January 2008 refer to the «painstaking diary» of a «well-traveled gentleman who kept all his papers», but left «no personal note, no record of his thoughts or feelings» whatsoever. Not, indeed. Of him remained an archive. A unifying thread of a non-memory, an emptiness in a history. An accumulation beseeching for someone to interpret it, for someone to take the elements, apparently void of meaning, of tenability, of love and hate, and combine them in a reading, that is, someone who can step up and down the ladder of values that formed the inner place of that person who in now but a mere character. Documents without any apparent meaning, nothing more than the chair where he sat one distant night watching a movie, or the seat he took on an intercontinental flight, or yet the invoice for the repair of a watch; things that exist and do not exist at the same time.
They do not exist as a valuable, like a piece of copper or gold, for these are things that can be thrown into the fire or crumpled into a small ball and thrown away between index and thumb. But they exist, they really exist, as indispensable elements for an individual to reach out to remote moments of his innerness. And they also exist for the one who wants to know of and to know more about the «well-traveled gentleman» of whom Daniel Blaufuks speaks, through the gaps between the dates of a movie ticket and a phone bill. For the one who files, it is a way of giving color to his innerness. And for the one who creates a construction around the lost elements of a life, it is about constructing a hypothesis of realism, i.e., of expressing a world that did not live in the combination of objects or through the possibilities. For both, everything is but a stepping down and stepping up and crossing the line of a historical horizon bound to the time that already was and to the time that still is. We are reminded of a sort of neutral unit that runs in parallel with the simultaneity of a mind state that demands re reconstitution of a state of physical things, through the analysis of objects that are almost blind. So, in a perfect day (A Perfect Day, c.2003), in an old suburb (The Old Suburb, 1999-2003) of Berlin (Berlin, 2003), a spy (Spy, 2003) sitting at the breakfast table (The Breakfast Table, c. 2006), close to his own still-life, found a sense of reality (A Sense of Reality, 2003) when he used a blade to cut his wrists, and thus departed to a perfect ending (Endless End, c. 2004).
For this «well-traveled gentleman», all experience summed up to the exact nature of these objects. It was between them that his innerness worked (circulated). That is the reason for his archive, filing them one by one. That sum of the elements produced combinations that only he knew how to unlock. They composed a universe that was clear and readable in his own body, enveloping multiple orders of phenomena that will always be viewed as fragments by any outside reader. The owner the registrar moved through these collected elements, within and without them, in search of evidence of his errors and also in affirmation of his relative truths; but the one who finds them now can only try to bestow it with the therapy of an image, that of the achievement of his art.
The one who files, organizes, and establishes the way of his archive works only for himself the world of his own representation. He constructs his representation before his own eyes. He presents himself to the view of others without looking at himself. It is like an individuation without a visible content. The archive lives in the shadow of his hypothetical innerness. But the one who debates the archived objects that don’t belong to him at all or who draws near only through some proximity of feelings in order to give them a saying, he, the narrator, the one who moves the procedural possibilities of art, he is not actually approaching a representation (which is possible only to the «well-traveled gentleman» Daniel Blaufuks «once» met), but in fact inventing, conferring him a subject.
Sometimes I approach art in a way that might seem absurd. When I see Blaufuks’s long (because of their diffuse time limits) note-books, travel books and diaries, I always think of two Espinosa expressions: laetitia and beatitudo. These are expressions that, like joy (but a hurting joy) and like beatitude (with the exact sense of serenity), one can find in the steps interrupted by columns of light and shadows of those walking in the Parade and that will spread through the controversy of a behavior that is echoed, after closing the Curtain (c.2006) in the portrait of The Old King (1999-2003) or on the hand that opens between the projection of the shadow of the body it belongs to and the white surface that receives it (The Human Landscape, 2006).
These echoes hold the idea of a growing (hurting) joy that doesn’t correspond to an instantaneous common experience, for that trifling well-being of happiness is also a thing and feeling (elements prone to be catalogued and archived), a sort of serenity that stays and that brings with it the quality of staying within its limits. Echoes, thus, that we can find in a photograph from 1986, from the series Longe de Ti, of the request for room tidying hanging from the door handle in a hotel (The Motel Door, 2004-05), or in the flow of the image conducing our eye from the odd page to the even page in the book Blaufuks, when he presents us the dialogue between Autumn (2007) and the look of the girl in The Lady With the Flowered Hat (c. 2003). Gaze and landscape as if that is in fact what is being seen establish a dilemma within the visual field composed by the two images.
The archive gets its energy from a development as naive as the serene relationship (nevertheless hurt to its core) created within the visual field that extends to wherever the gaze from The Lady With the Flowered Hat might reach. And this dilemma results from the landscaping development (in the midst of an innerness) which is, at the same time, an angelic seeing and an egocentric wanting to see. The archive we are conducted to by a character such as the one in Street of the Lonely, reaching us loaded with objective subjectivity, faces us with a solipsistic shaping, inducing an image firstly taken as in a Wittgenstein deviation: «the boundaries of my vision denote the boundaries of my world».
The archive emerges as the accumulation of data that, for «a well-traveled gentleman», bring along (and in testimony to themselves) a sense of appreciation and truth. Appreciation and truth restricted to a dating. But also a sign that true happiness (state of completeness) and true beatitude (sobriety), as proposed by Espinosa, consists in the wisdom and awareness of the true (that resides within itself) and not in the immediate attempt to be wiser than the other. The archives are not comparative standards, they live and they endure in the individuation of an absolute private. In them, hierarchies are established, and from their comparable and unique history human freedom is organized, the realization «in the act» of the video image Teach Me Tiger (c. 2000).
The images included in an archive conduct to the analysis of memory. They make us pursue the complex world of an individual. They bring to a reality (that of those observing and interpreting) graphical configurations, lost archetypal realities that are once again presented and that, depending on that new presentation, reestablish re-present behaviors, fantasies, desires, intents. The objects of an archive (be it private or public, individual or collective) drag along an experience of a realm populated by images that the time and art of memory converted in things stripped of reason and will. However, the time belonging to their future, using an active imagination, as Daniel Blaufuks does, rearranges this Thesaurus Inscrutabilis created by the multiple figures of archives in his work: and gives it memory, will and love.