More recently, ‘Grand Complex Split Block (offshore hermitage internal affairs)’ appeared on Nico Dockx and Helena Sidiropoulos' pages in Prix de la Jeune Peinture Belge 2009 / Prijs Jonge Belgische Schilderkunst 2009, exhibition catalog, Bozar, Brussels, 2009. I also recited it, alongside other guest-speaking (or live-demonstration) of Nico Dockx and Helena Sidiropoulos' 'Projet pour un livre / Projet pour un filme' bookwork, Curious, RA 13 and Stockmans nv, Antwerp, 2009 (with black-out "censored" bookplates, very much homagingMARCEL BROODTHAERS Marcel Broodthaers' wordless version ofStéphane Mallarmé's classic 'Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard' — and a thwarted monograph / catalogue raissonne from an early 00's Marcel Broodthaers Artwork retrospective). This was for an event at Palais des Beaux Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten / Bozar, Brussels, 2009. Regurgitation and exhumation excuse for both catalog and event being same crime-scene and target.
GRAND COMPLEX SPLIT BLOCK (offshore hermitage internal affairs)
Intrepid expedition committee sets out on a mystery quest, all roped together so they don’t lose track of each other, laying snail-trail of cords behind them, helping them find their way back to drawing-board square-one again afterwards. Having no goal or mission to begin with, after many false starts, misdirections and changes of plans, they arrive at entirely the wrong address. Yet it all turns out to be the very breakthrough needed, just what the doctor ordered all along.
For, as age-old legend has it (time-honoured tradition re-enacts itself to this very day), this was the very spot where: opaque filled in conservatory, hollowed out crystal mountain, resinous jelly great pyramid and upholstered marquee tent (the whole lot, asymmetrically irregular and lop-sided) once crossed paths and came together; agreeing to recline and lie flat down backwards; all of their sides, heads and tœs touching onto and joined with those of the rest; before ending up staying like that forever; each single one of them, grown out of, built up from, broken down as, cut up into and taken apart leaving triangular gaps and solid wedges; as well as cubic and rectangular holes and lumps; also, curves, arcs and circles, sometimes.
Original discovery and ongoing reinvention was, has always been, still are and ever will be by spring-cleaning operation, laying down the foundations and paving the way forwards. Broom, dustpan with brush and feather-duster sweep up, scrape off and clear away protectively layered coatings of dirt, left behind, stuck onto mid and thin air worktop surfaces; rough scouring pads and harsh detergents thoroughly scrub them down; for sponge to soak up and towelling to dry out; then mop and bucket to wash and polish; while sink plunger unblocks plumbing and drainage. Ensuing produce is gathered up, harvested and earns interest to be spread and rubbed back in, mixed up with still more to fortify, build and make new. Flat blades lay it on thick and slice through atmosphere. Coming from opposite end, chisel, file, hammer, pickaxe, hatchet, shovel, drill and saw cut, bore, pound, grind and hack, tunnelling through, heading straight ahead towards same direction. These separate parties carry on regardless, unaware of what the others are doing, nearby, at the same time, despite each serving cross-purposes, pitted at complete odds against the other. Half-way between, they meet up, introduce themselves and are brought together, fortunately, without incident. The two different sides involved dig out and clean up their neighbours. That whole episode got out of the way and put behind them, members of both personnel stumble upon, unearth and revive fossil fuel light, motion and sound sources, as they do so, loosening gaseous and liquid powdered gold; providing raw material reserves and specialist equipment with which to draw, engrave, sculpt and paint one marvel after another. Tool-kit cases transfer into fireplace hearths, valeted for conversion as cabinet niche and display vitrines, the housing that shows off these treasures.
Around here, there is no, was not and never will be any beginning to start with, middle somewhere in between, finite end to it all or happy ever after. There is nowhere that ever remains the same way or stays still for very long. All chambers and their contents, always on the move, shift in transit, travel about, pass through moving monastic hospital corridors and tunnels, climb up and down stairs, take in everywhere slowly and go nowhere fast. Entrances, exits and the places themselves, approach and linger awhile, then leave to go somewhere else. One way or another, everywhere leads towards and connects up with somewhere else, but completely unclear as to how or why. Getting to or simply pinpointing anywhere is impossible, but then again, so is getting lost, because sooner or later, everywhere turns up unexpectedly anyway. The movable and itinerant centre can and will end up anywhere, usually tending to be more or less 3 doors, each frame touching onto the next one, all opening inwards onto somewhere far larger than enclosure occupied. Meandering and digressing direction and route arrives at terminal destination of arrow shaped room somewhere, helpfully indicated and pointed out clearly by everywhere else (however unfindable whatever that turns out to be), with many intermediate transitional landmarks and milestones along the way.
The most unfathomably deep of walls contain narrow and low mouse-holes, while whole wide continents are walled-up in cramped cupboards, behind wafer thin partitions. Every space, consumed and taken up by impenetrable obstacle races and assault courses, far exceeding capacity of actual size limits. A mesh of strategically positioned grills channel traffic of cargo deliveries to order and commuters on pilgrimage alike, beamed through 4-sided tubular chutes, ducts and pipes. Ultimate jewel in the crown is a vivarium tank, housing the only ever known real live feint clouds to be held in captivity, preserved inside clear blue sky, extracted from their natural habitat, to happily drift, float, ramble, swim and waft about in. All in all, seaside holiday resort popular entertainment venue and open-air swimming-baths, throwback to advanced, but fallen ancient civilisation and empire, with a touch of stern fortress, naval port and aircraft carrier battleship (with lifeboats, cabins, gangways and engine rooms) thrown in for good measure, perfectly completing everything.
Having seen all the sights there are to be seen (many times over at that), the visitors return, finding their way back the way they came, coming out into the light of day, greeted by coincidentally laid-on festivities.
©, Copyright, Douglas Park
Recital / slide-show, ‘Grand Complex Split Block (offshore hermitage internal affairs)’, with Nico Dockx, 'PARANOID CRITICAL TRANSFORMATION METHOD, REVOLUTION / RESTORATION 01', program, curated by Dirk Snauwært, Christopher & Barbara Vanderlinden, Palais des Beaux Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, 2003
“Essay”, Nico Dockx & Helena Sidiropoulos pages, 'Prix de la Jeune Peinture Belge 2009 / Prijs Jonge Belgische Schilderkunst 2009', group exhibition catalogue, Palais des Beaux Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, 2009
See also recommended further reading: 'Secret Liaison Hideaway Airspace (amœba joinery simple growth)', 11 postcard sequence, with Nico Dockx, Extra City, Antwerp, 2011
My more recent mutation of 'Grand Complex Split Block (offshore hermitage internal affairs)'. Originated for my and Nico Dockx's card sequence, published as part of 'Museum of Display', group show, Extra City, Antwerp, 2011. Mostly a word-by-word reversal of 'Grand Complex Split Block (offshore hermitage internal affairs)', other aspects were turned upside down and back-to-front. Even the title is an opposite. Everythings turned onto their head. I got the idea from Mark Wallinger's 'Regard a Mere Mad Rager'. Footage of comedy conjurer, Tommy Cooper, looped backwards and projected onto a mirror. Mark Wallinger’s hope and claim being the quality, merit, personality, artistry and humour will still be present and powerful — even when the other way around.
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