New York March-April 1995

Abstracts (of Anamnesis), Onassis Foundation, New York, 1995.

As Aristotle writes in his brief treatise On Memory and Reminiscence, “the same effect occurs in thinking as in drawing a diagram”, and “memory, even the memory of objects of thoughts, is not without an image.”

Abstracts of anamnesis or skeletal forms of reminiscence. Such forms must be more than one. No single formula could offer the ultimate image of the flotsam and jetsam of time, now that it is “out of joint.” But a series of images could offer at least a hint at a possible world, one among others. And they must be abstracts: summarized, but also free from any specific instance. There is no supreme lesson or famous last word to be learned from the barely legible scrawls which haunt the pictorial surface.

Writing abstracts conveys its graphic qualities apart from the object to which they belong. So does painting, in a way, gaining its own fantastic presence in this parting. So does thought ‑‑ or so did the Greeks say. Graphic, fantastic ‑‑ two Greek words, describing operations of the human hand, which Aristotle called the “organ of organs.” The image and the alphabet, phantasia and grammata, stand as the Scylla and Charybdis which define the straits the Greeks have left in their wake‑‑with thought. But what would a painting look like if the presence of painting were precisely the quality it aimed to convey`? How could it, at one stroke, accept the Greeks’ legacy and question it’? How could a legacy ever be shown, if not as a vanishing point? It is not so much a matter of memory. Rather, memories are at stake, as vestiges of memory: a recollection, or anamnesis, of anonymous bodies and sentences no one could sign now.

Christopher Fynsk’s text: Fynsk 1995

The exhibition catalogue: Abstracts catalogo 1995