ATHENA PETRA TASIOPOULOS Fertility 2014 mixed media on paper

Imagine the moment of waking up after a vivid dream. The dream was just there, so bright, so alive. You are certain that the dream is yours. It is in your possession, ready to be recalled. The dream immediately slips. It retreats and teases, and you hover between two states. The dream is there, and it isn’t; it pales, looms, then abandons again. If experiences are like snapshots, then in the moment of awakening, they swing from one snapshot to another, like a perceptual pendulum. But if experiences are not snapshots – if they are episodes, micro-lives that grow and evolve, then there is a single experience that refuses to resolve itself into anything. The work above is remarkable because it shows, at the perceptual level, the slip between absence and presence. There is an experience of absence. The eyes aren’t there. No pupils, no irises, no lashes. Do check. But the eyes also seem to be there. You are being looked at. Theirs is a presence that’s hard to shake off. Is your experience a pendulum? Or is it an evolving life? It’s difficult to tell. But that much is clear. It is very hard to photograph absences. But it is virtually impossible to photograph an absence that’s at the tip of one’s tongue. Witness the impossibility.

Athena Petra Tasiopoulos. Fertility. 2014.


How to slip into nothing

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