Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This is a short short essay I wrote to introduce No|Thing a show that is up at UCA Gallery at the moment. It's worth dropping round there for a look.
Nothing is the threshold. Physically it doesn’t exist; even the vacuum, a concept long debated by philosophers and scientists, is full, according to quantum mechanics, of little particles and waves winking in and out of existence. In the number system that most of the world uses, the addition of the number zero changed it fundamentally. It freed the system from mathematical measurement (how many cows, how long is my pyramid), which has no use for nothing. It allowed space for abstraction, a space of thinking autonomous from representation. Nothing is the threshold between the world of the real and the world of the imagination.
There are clear parallels between this numerical idea and art, but in art there is another mechanism at work. Artworks, which by nature are something, that approach nothingness through paucity of material, perceived incompletion, simplicity of action or abstraction, imply existence through this absence. They are like cartoon-shaped holes in the wall, the emptiness suggests its opposite.