Uncertainty always lingers in Ali Emir Tapan’s videos. In a strange atmosphere, with only slight clues, the images draw us away from certainty and towards unknowing. The images-sustained by and within a constant state of the uncanny-show what attracts Tapan: the act of revealing things through a practice of non-showing, of hiding.
With a ‘shamanic’ view, images interpenetrate and overlap. The artist draws a plane and shows it to us. He ‘shows’ the visible, makes the audible ‘heard,’ each instant revealing something of the overall plane, but it is a plane which is itself invisible. Clues can only be found from what is seen and heard.
Tapan is organising the image. The invisible plane is not clear, the model fades away and the rules of perspective become indistinct. We start to realize that things are becoming formless. Being structured destroys itself. The foreground and background are nested in each other within this image; the hierarchy of perspective between them disappears and reappears. The images from “Nowhere” do not reveal their place.
Instead the images are freed by Tapan’s ability to render, mechanically, their seamless and concealed see-sawing. And in the same way that the artist can break down the foreground and background and perspective, he too, is able to unravel the uncertainty given us by giving slow and subtle clues. What seems minor is a hidden secret, a clue. What seems unimportant is precisely the point. Something vanishes as soon as it arises, and perhaps it repeats itself again. Faster and slower and then fast again, although never, somehow, at a predictable rhythm-again playing into Tapan’s ability to keep us in a state of suspense and uncertainty.
The revealed secrets pass through as images; a spirit, a sociological area, a point of individuation are all in the process of formation, arising slowly and faintly, and vanishing at the moment it arises. The mysteriousness of what is seen with what is unseen convalesces any disconcerting feelings. It is healing rather than manipulative. The uncertain plane in ‘Nowhere,’ shifting from human life to natural life, is similar to the uncanny and playful way that Tapan focuses on interspecies transitivity as in ‘Invisible Lover’ where work-horses appear to be included in the bovine family rather than horses.
The city derives its naturalness from its artificialness with a simulacra sky illuminating the city, images disappearing by themselves, fading like shooting stars, and then reappearing. The unexpected gains strength, and is reinforced. Influences and emotions exist together. Everything is an element in every plane, and the artist has entered the becoming-imperceptible; he has slipped through our fingers while we were waiting for him. This is the artist's speed and slowness. Composed of images by focusing on relationships and on speed and slowness, the exhibition focuses on a becoming-imperceptible.
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