23 May to 21 June 2014
Lifelines. A series of small objects or stories, maybe written with a carefully selected pen on the appropriate stationery or typed on a typewriter, and with a little practice, almost without the use of correction tape. In such cases, there is a certain fascination with way the letters disappear behind its white layer. Are they really gone? Or only in good faith, or even bad? After all, their existence on paper is always undeniable; it’s just out of sight, out of mind. You just don’t look at it too closely. Still greater was the fascination for the source of the papers and writing utensils, those little stationary shops that you only see in villages or suburbs these days. Maybe the decals of colorful pens on the windows already hint at what was to be found inside. Young people never worked there and the old people working behind the wooden counter knew they would not find a successor. Their bloodlines were ending. But lines were part of their business, they deserved lifelines: office supplies and toys. These stores had a certain smell, like paper and plastic toys, model kits, maybe. I liked their smell more than the task they put before me. Glue dribbled over fine edges, not to mention painting with rather seductive paints out of little metal pots.
But what am I talking about here anyway? Art and Sara MacKillop. – Oh, and where am I doing that again?
Maybe it started the moment the pens, erasers, metal tabs that marked the cardboard boxes, the sharpener, rulers and the various shapes, textures and colors of paper became more attractive than the toys. What’s stirring is the urge – a desire to make something out of things that has nothing to do with their original purpose. And an eye for details. Maybe an echo of those self-absorbed moments of childhood, when life breathed in all things. No, nothing infantile, but the high school of association, which ordered the world and expanded it at the same time. In doing so it creates rules and, at the same time, uncertainties. There was a time when serious art began in the place where the rules of association, and thus those of childhood, ended. The concept was a structure, but it was sometimes afraid of red, yellow and blue.
Sara MacKillop is not looking for that fear. She knows far more subtle fears: fear of the disappearance of things, for example. And so her work is a kind of preservation, transformations made visible. In the service of Sara MacKillop’s associative powers, we see buildings in folded and cut-out envelopes or find strange paper rolls melting into the floor of the space, if we only look closely enough. The change manifests itself as a liberation and tragedy at the same time. Like the cover of a book that had been preserved for centuries, but was destroyed by water damage. But isn’t its new texture just as beautiful? These thoughts are made possible by the contextless White Cube, beyond all obligations of the historical perspective of conservation.
Or maybe we’re still in the stationery shop after all, and everything has gone out of control? Sara MacKillop questions our concept of reality with her small objects. They cannot find a ‘thing in themselves’ in the sense of Kant’s transcendental philosophy, only unsteady designations. And yet, her relative works emit both a friendly, introspective calm, and the bold assertion: Here I am! A logical contradiction?
The idea came. Last night he’d looked up at the universe without. Then there must be a universe within, too. Maybe universes.
He stood again. Why had he never thought of it; of the microscopic and the submicroscopic worlds?
That they existed he had always known. Yet never had he made the obvious connection. He’d always thought in terms of man’s own world and man’s own limited dimensions. He had presumed upon nature. For the inch was man’s concept, not nature’s. To a man, zero inches meant nothing. Zero meant nothing. But to nature there was no zero. Existence went on in endless cycles. It seemed so simple now. He would never disappear, because there was no point of non-existence in the universe. It frightened him at first.
The idea of going on endlessly through one level of dimension after another was alien.
Then he thought: If nature existed on endless levels, so also might intelligence. He might not have to be alone.
Richard Matheson – The Incredible Shrinking Man