More (or five) Doors

This is a beautiful staircase.

A door is a before and might be a beginning. A portal even. It may lead to something or someone, and things may change. That is if you‘re brave, or maybe it‘s enough to be open or naïve or optimistic or even better, an open optimist. Or maybe just curious enough.
If there‘s a door (or five), walk through (that‘s too corny, I‘m aware).

This could be either followed by or I‘m thinking of:
- “The reality has no door,” (Colin de Land according to Richard Prince in Artforum, Summer 2003). “There‘s no door, nothing to knock at, just in case,” (after The Walking Dead, 2010-2022).
- “Rain is a cage you can walk through,” (a line in a poem by Jeredith Merrin that I only know of because Sabeth Buchmann used it as a title for her beautiful text about Judith Hopf in the Performance issue of Texte zur Kunst, March 2000).

But it doesn‘t (even) rain.
And there‘s no performance or performative gesture.
And Colin de Land is dead.
And it‘s been a year or more already since I‘ve watched The Walking Dead.

This is a preface, even though there is no text, no relation. Only this/a before?. But maybe this isn‘t even a before (or door) as nothing is coming (up).

door opens, closes

My preoccupation with the terms remove and disappear seeps quite naturally into this text, like it seeped again and again into everything I‘ve done since writing an application for a fine arts research stipend about these fellow terms more than a year ago, last spring. Remove and disappear leave nothing after their appearance, or at least there would be less than before. I began to use my notes to produce pictures and writing, even if and because the production of something (or more) to describe more closely remove and disappear may be counterintuitive or redundant.

You can‘t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

Or you could (choose to) kill/numb all receptors for love with certain drugs (as they assist the revival of trauma, allow lazy forms of grief, help you to not feel). Is there a sequence to Everything? How come it‘s not you? And maybe it‘s easier (no loose surprises/love?). And/or only another lonely, pathetic attempt to control the narrative. What could/can be repaired? But you might not get to a (real) before or any beginning. You won‘t be touched.

Or what won‘t be. What will only have been in my fantasy? Did I need a muse? Or what do you want?

I post a picture of a bright green toaster with a thin black smiley with big black oval eyes, the words esperanza creating space for your dreams, and yellow buttons labelled “Frozen,” “Reheat,” and “Cancel,” on Instagram and write:
“Eyes wide shut / absence (also as the opposite of access)
creating space for your dreams / Frozen / Reheat / Cancel”

door opens, closes

Architecture could be read as the reverse of remove and disappear. It‘s certainly no accident that in Antonioni‘s film The Passenger (1975), which describes David Locke‘s/Jack Nicholson‘s disappearance or double death, Nicholson meets The Girl/Maria Schneider who plays an architecture student and thereby embodies his/an antithesis.

A preface without subsequent text or nothing to follow is for nothing, or a (structural) problem. Unreal? Pure negativity?

With - without
More of/than you (or something in you).
Or “there is no sexual relation,” see Lacan.

Or the subject‘s darkness (Subjektfinsternis) consists in the disappearance of the subject.

Questions of follow-up (Fragen der Nachfolge): And then? In the park there‘s a graffiti:
„Alle werfen / Keiner fängt“ (Everyone throws / No-one catches)

Afterwardsness (Nachträglichkeit) – narrative arc (relation?) – and/or remain in foreplay/prelude
(Or when you google future, you only get pictures of a sad rapper from Atlanta.)

How passive is the objet petit a (after Lacan, the object-cause of desire)?

Happy ends? I, too, know nothing about the end, possible ends – What a beautiful idea you were.

Without year

And then there are algorithms, or anyway nothing matters (Es is eh alles egal.).

Do I know how to flirt?

So how then could we get anywhere near to or rather close(r) to a relation?
A relation could be one margin of remove and disappear. What I might mean by relation, or what describes something similar as the relational movement/gesture of remove and disappear, is wonderfully illustrated between image and sound plane in the beginning of the film The Killing of Two Lovers (2020). We watch David/Clayne Crawford run away on a an empty road in the minuscule town of Kanosh, Utah after he had pointed a pistol at two sleeping lovers. We see him from behind. He runs away (from us/the two lovers) for a pretty long time. At some point a noise sets in which accompanies the running away with a very slow beat. The somewhat calming sound of a closing car door.
For Lacan, the fading of the subject, its disappearance, comes about by way of a detour via the other. What is the essence of relation? What does relation (per se) look like? How do you photograph it? What can you hold onto and how can you be there/present? Photographs always show what‘s not there.

… just to see you smile

So how then could we get anywhere near to or rather close(r) to a relation?
If you overlook/miss, what would be there to see, and there is an aim to see, the aim or you remain alone. Do blind spots move? And how slow? And what is it with the absence generated (angelegt) in pictures? And will mine? Is it defensive? As if you knew that you have to say something now, and that you say nothing and are bewildered that you will not have said anything. But the other one‘s (already) gone. You are with without. Everything is slipping through our fingers. There‘s no narrative. We don‘t (even) slip. And then, time is a place.

Victoria Miro doesn‘t take responsibility for umbrellas

So how then could we get anywhere near to or rather close(r) to a relation?
fewer images

Now I think I would love to have been taking pictures of us, or rather pictures that say something, anything about (the mysteries/secrets of) the elusiveness of relation per se and our relation while we were together. Of the dynamics, all that‘s in between, all that was or might have been apparent in everything around us, between us. Something of the fragility of the dynamics of love(rs). How carefully would/could I have pictured it/them? What is my relation to (being in) relation? What does relation (per se) look like?

But my agency was gone (you can only take pictures of what you see
and we never see the same things).
What did I miss?
What did you see?

I think about how to render absence readable/visible. What happens if you accumulate ideas and associations and margins of a term that evokes only (more) loneliness? Is there a surplus? Or what resonates?
How much love remains?

What might/may be, is/comes close enough?

…, for a thought to soften, ...*

So how then could we get anywhere near to or rather close(r) to a relation?
There‘s a sadness that follows. She might tell him that she feels weird (I was happy when I saw the full moon) that maybe it‘s just the moon, to not say she‘s afraid. That her head is empty. Or follows us? She looks away to not reveal how much she fancies him. The love(?) in her eyes. That she loves croissants (croissants calm me).

That there‘s something in you. Or how to render absence readable/visible.
There‘s no absence in the real. Or the/a lover‘s desperate “Really?” which might say more about oneself than about whoever is addressed/holds oneself and not the other. We cannot.

I‘m late. As late as possible. Yet again.

So how then could we get anywhere near to or rather close(r) to a relation?
I think of the way Denis Lavant flies dancing in the very last minutes of Claire Denis‘ Beau Travail (1999) and of certain pictures (and nudes), I didn‘t get a chance to take. And how this scene visualises a relation/way to relate to the world and how it always makes me feel less alone. Or I understand every move, am moved by every move (or Denis Lavant).

“Everythiiiing,” (sung by Thom Yorke)

Or The Doors: “Love me two times, I‘m goin‘ away ...”

*As found in Iris Touliatou‘s poetic text for her exhibition Overnight at Radio Athènes in 2019.

Note: Some of the lines of this text are borrowed from my text Und sie fällt uns dauernd runter / This one‘s about love, 2021-- .

More (or five) Doors, 2022
Iris Touliatou and Tom Engels invited me to contribute a text for the catalog of Iris Touliatou‘s solo exhibition appendage at Grazer Kunstverein in June 2022.
The only requirement, the text should have the format of a preface. 'Prefaces to appendage', a publication with contributions by Arnisa Zeqo, Iris Touliatou, Julie Peeters, Lisa Holzer, Tom Engels, and Quinn Latimer.
I will read an extended version of this text at bobshop (, Berlin, July 30th 2022.