Another Gallery, Austria
2019.15.09. – 04.11.
Fire usually appears through its destructive power. If, following recent events, the prioritization between the burning of Notre Dame de Paris or that of the Amazon region should anticipate the morality of a person, referring to the hope that the fire would do the work seems cynical. The destruction is devastating in both cases and a comparison seems impossible. Despite that, a need to judge on both, donate for one or the other, currently defines people’s moral goals in the eyes of others. The situation makes obvious that neither of the events is ‘better’ to pity and shows the occasional absurdity of moral judgements. Lőrinc Borsos explores another mythology of fire in their installation Hope The Fire Will Do The Work for Another Gallery, pointing to the antagonism of morality and its inconsistency. For William Blake, fire is a metaphor for the eradication of superficial differences. The English poet and painter sought to overcome conventional morality in his art in the eighteenth century. Burning, therefore, becomes a cathartic idea in his work, liberating the world from moral unambiguity and emphasizing the equality of all.
Some of the works in the Cabinet go back to the series Paradise Lost, in which Lőrinc Borsos reproduced classics of art history and censored stereotypes with their black paint BLAEK. In the triptych, they reference Blake’s Satan watching the endearments of Adam and Eve, The Judgement of Adam and Eve, and The creation of Eve blacking out the figures of Adam and Eve as well as their unity in love and guilt or in the act of creation through the figure of God, and shifting the representational features to the depiction of Satan. Thereby, the presence of the large black shapes emphasizes the conventional ideas in the paintings—and their mysterious becoming: bi-polarity of genders, harmony and monogamy, and male power.
The paintings vis-à-vis, arranged in shape of a cross, depict struggles between what is considered good and evil from Blake’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy or Homer’s Iliad. Lőrinc Borsos picks out details and sometimes alters parts such as the missing chains in the zoomed-in version of the evil angel (The Head). The full version of The Good and Evil Angels, is simply entitled Left-Right, leaving out the moral implication of the original. Even more, the carnation of both angels is matched—no darker skin for the evil anymore.
The bold trace of thick black color then unites them with divine trash objects (Dehex, Pyre), glowing in the light. On the ceiling, a fake fire flares in a bowl reminiscent of the fake fireplaces that one could switch on in TV, reminding us of the difference between high and low judgements in aesthetics as much as the printed GIFs on the curtains in the room (Yes, No)—another distinction of what to consider as good or bad, as meaningful or not. At the same time, the curtains show—logically inconsistent with the titles—the antagonism between ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
A bit apart from the black line, moving out of the diagonals of the installation, a personal object of Lőrinc Borsos appears on the floor (Apparition): a combination of everyday objects, a baseball bat with a branch, and a strange font for writing “Jesus Christ” on the bat. The stories of the surrounding objects, paintings, and their arrangement remind us of the fatal meaning they might adopt for us—as well as the moral implications and the logic that even simple things carry with them.
The Ashes of Blaek in the doorframe might show a new way of overcoming these hidden traces determining us, more radical than Blake’s mere idea of fire: by actually burning them.
The cynicism suggested by the title disappears in the installation, as do the clichés. The questions remain: Which pictures does the fire paint? How do we perceive fire—and equality when facing the fire? What motivates our decisions, and how could we overcome the invisible bias? How can we black it out or burn it? What kind of morality is left after the fire?
Curator, text: Maximilian Lehner
Reproduction: Dávid Biró
Photo documentation: Barnabás Neogrády-Kiss