“AUDITORY POSTURE O”, ALEXANDER MAY AT BALICE HERTLING

‘’War happens when language fails’’ wrote Margaret Atwood—the despair which haunts men’s history
states that language often failed in fact. War incited art imbued in displacement, vexation and anger;
art which hailed indeed not muteness, but the advent of uncodifiable codes. In Alexander May’s
second solo exhibition at the gallery, titled “Auditory Posture O”, the art subtends a multiplicity of
codes. But their advent in the shape of the artworks doesn’t occur into a babylonesque cacophony,
and into an uncodifiability which is rather peaceful: the gestures hold a primordial stasis, the pictures a
profound humanity—Margaret Atwood could state that here language have failed without inciting any
war.

 © Claire Dorn

Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (© Claire Dorn)

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Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (© Claire Dorn)

© Claire Dorn

Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (© Claire Dorn)

The codes don’t hide the meanings. Alphabets as notations, behavioral patterns as systems of
symbols—no term or sound, no gesture or picture is lost in translation; since the terms and the
sounds, the gestures and the pictures hold no actual meaning to lose. The artworks entail a
semantical vacuity that leads to the nullification of any codifying plan; instead they engage in the
exercise of pure syntax. Hence, the medium is dead, the message is dead. Don’t ask. Just understand
your own body within the room as itself a code: a conductor. Listen and pose. And enjoy this being in
a flux. Talk and see, if you like. Mouths lie on several of the artist’s paintings; along with eyes,
alphabets, and unintelligible typography. Indeed the signs don’t claim allegorical nature; they are
rather indexical presences, as if the artist can actually talk and see through his making hand. Paintings
unfold gestures that trace back to pictures, and pictures that vanish into gestures. They are neither
abstract nor figurative, neither gestural nor compositional—layers of artistic languages overlap and
deny each other, in the same vein the artist’s desire for communication is trapped into the materiality
of the artwork itself.

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Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (© Claire Dorn)

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Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling (© Claire Dorn)

The exhibition itself is a trap. The sounds scattered within the room are the unsteady translations of
these words. Very few had entered the artist’s cosmos in those few hours when he played his glass
organ: he fucked the C-D-E-F-G-A-B notation, and still searched for harmony—so miserably.
The playing in the presence of the other was as the search for the correct statement of thought. The
question has always been if you and I understand each other… At least we try, fo sho we try.
Translate the organ into a laptop keyboard, so I can talk to you through sounds. Oh, don’t be afraid of
them, they come from the past, but are not ghostly voices. They come from the very first time we
meet, and come to us through our shared experiences… Because this we share, not language, not
symbols… Life, I guess… They are called green noises. And what plays here is a green organ. Oh, I
tell you, there is green as well in this exhibition.

Michele d’AURIZIO

Until 08.11.2014
BALICE HERTLING
47 rue Ramponeau
75020 PARIS

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