Images don't line the wall; they punctuate it. And while photos in a one-person show do usually have a connection — a style or theme or subject matter — these are even more explicitly linked: they are literally strung together.
We are not looking at photographs per se; these are not first and foremost images of anything. Our first move is not to approach the individual images but to take in the scene as a whole. After all, there's string emanating from them. These images seem more like moments of an event than they do representations of something.
The familiar signs of framing — matting, geometry, signage — are all missing. The string that travels from within the images and moves beyond the images is the frame of a sort. As it traipses, the string creates a space within this space — a space that is neither the space of the room nor the space of the images, a spectral but palpable space. Whereas a frame fixes its object in place, this string-frame is in motion, forging connections, stipulating boundaries, constituting an event.
But what is this event? The title, "Only ______" suggests reduction, simplification, a revelation of something obvious: It's only....what? How does one even say the title of this show — Open Blank? With pronounced pith, the title refuses our attempt to assume this art, to take it up in one fell swoop, to know it and name it.
The map that's inscribed on one wall is not an explanation. It is as much the territory as it is a map: it's become part of the show, folded into the event, a stop on the tour rather than the guide to the tour.
What, then, is happening? As we move in closer to examine the individual images, we are privy to a an obscured intimacy: a naked woman on her knees but turned away from us; a naked woman extending
her frame, again away from us; an old writing desk, all the drawers shut. These are private moments, inside moments. But our voyeurism is deferred by shadow and posture. These images do not reward or answer us when we look within. On the contrary, as the string takes leave of the image, it asks us to follow a path outwards.
So let's follow the string to see where it leads us. We find the string in multiple places. It is in the different images as there are pictures of string. And then there is the material string that winds through the space.
But there is a third string, as well, one that is neither virtual nor real, both virtual and real: this is the string that exists at the surface of the image. It is neither in the image nor outside the image; it's as if it's inscribed itself on the surface of the photograph. (That's a strange phrase — "surface of the photograph" — as a photo is always a surface.)
This weave is not a straight stitch. It is knotted and tangled. How could it be otherwise? This winding, knotted string maps the impossible calculus of the movement from inside to outside and from place to place, image to image, traversing the infinite fold of becoming, that pleated plane
that marks the private from the public, the inside from the outside, the
depth from the surface, the map from the tour.
This is the entangled event of art, of creating and consuming, that movement from an obscured interiority — of both artist and viewer — to the light of day and back in an infinitely complex algorithm. We are strung along and, in the process, woven into the event: the spectral space forged by the string now includes us.
Goldfarb gives us a certain architecture of the experience of art. This is a phenomenology of art, its creation and consumption, in which there is no true depth: it's all surface, pleated and woven together in elaborate, complex ways. Not everything is revealed; there are obscure corners that are hard to make out. But they are not deep, only hidden by pleats of light.
This show offers a blueprint of the art event, stripped of its content, of its dramaturgy, of its narrative. What is left is only ________: a glorious entanglement.
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