Lacanian Review Online: What Awaits Us

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When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender
This I could not do

(Leonard Cohen, The Partisan)

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LRO 278
10th March 2021

 




EFIMERUS – An experiment on the eternity of the instant
Gustavo Dessal

In 1915, at the request of the German Goethe General Federation, Sigmund Freud wrote a short text, whose poetic beauty and depth of thought allow it to be considered among the best of his immense work. Vergänglichkeit in the original, it was translated as The perishable in Spanish and On transcience in the English language. Freud wonders there if the transitory character of beauty enhances its value or if, on the contrary, it devalues its importance. His answer is clear and determined: the perishable increases the merit of beauty and of life in general. Freud's ethical position was always unassailable. The pain that reality can cause us does not authorize us to take refuge in the illusory beliefs that follow the dictates of our desires.

For Freud, the value of beauty and life are independent of their duration, but the contemporary mentality is increasingly intolerant of the idea of finitude. We live under the empire of a paradox. The exhortation to the new, to incessant innovation, is imposed as an inexorable mandate of our times. Trained in the expiration of everything that exists, love, employment, consumer objects, goods in the broadest sense, we disbelieve the duration of things. Current discourse promotes the ephemeral as one of the fundamental features of life, with the purpose that we get ready to turn all aspects of our existence into products that are exposed in a market as voracious as it is volatile. It is love via Tinder, short-term employment contracts, messaging apps and photos that are automatically deleted; it is the vertiginousness of experiences, and the futility of anonymous daily life. But at the same time the transience of life is strongly repudiated, and science and technology are entrusted with the project of an indefinite prolongation of vital time.

Human subjectivity is marked by three essential conditioning factors: language, sexuality and death. The latter has always been poorly received, although in recent decades the set of forces that dominate social discourse has pushed us to rebel against all limits, including that of death, the most implacable of all. In a grandiosity based absurd phrase, Peter Thiel – founder of Paypal – went so far as to affirm that death is the greatest enemy of Humanity and that it must therefore be eradicated.

In his artistic experiment, Pablo Bobbio shows us what we would prefer to look away from. Life is a succession of ephemeral stages, and organic decomposition generates new forms of existence, some visible, others microscopic. It is amazing to be able to perceive that the atrociousness of putrefaction can contain a singular beauty, a spectrum of textures, colors, luminescences and opacities that show us that even the most horrifying natural phenomena can captivate us with an attraction that defies common sense. But above all, the images that Pablo Bobbio offers us are the visual expression of the memento mori, the "remember that you are mortal" that the slave whispered in Caesar's ear when, joyful, he returned victorious to Rome. Capturing the different instants of bios, the arc of life, to the extreme of the return to the inanimate, is the experiment to which the artist summons us. Photographs and objects trapped in the transparent eternity of resin look at us. They look at us from their agonizing muteness to remind us of what awaits us.

 

 

 


Exhibition Details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s7qmRRvLgY

Opens March 13th, 2021 – pbobbio.com

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