Søren H. Mortensen BA, 1993  

”The portal in front/behind”

The work seems to invoke reverence, but as a whole the presentation of the work isn’t threatening, its nature being more that of a monument in miniature. The rusty frame is modern with its character of unpolished coarseness, like the portal itself. But there is something exotic, ancient and primeval about the script or signs. Mythological and full of meaning, yet we don’t recognise these signs – they can be translated into the collective reality that constitutes our language.

Man surrounds himself with script, language and signs as such. Most systematic and deliberate is our use of the written and spoken language, but other methods of communication can also be interpreted as language. One speaks for example of body language and figurative language. Man would be alone without the signs and language we use to communicate with our fellow human beings. We communicate our understanding and insight to others, but worry about whether the words we have chosen precisely express our thoughts. Language is in constant pursuit of the material world – but the world is too large and diverse to be dissolved in language.

Man thinks and systemises, but he also acts spontaneously in the world. With his body man acts differently than with the spoken language, as with his body man directly affects his environment. (At the same time the world is directly experienced or “deposited” in the body).

The work bears traces of the artist who has produced it by working the material. But because the work has a richness of meaning it also has a bodily character. It remains after the artist has left it and points at the world as something more than a verbal reality.

The work is irreducible and untranslatable. We can try to expound on it but it will always escape us. If we try to encapsulate it within a certain concept, then that concept will inevitably fall apart. Thus the work will remain standing, pointing towards a reality that can never fully be captured by language or signs, but that we attempt to grasp all the same just to come closer to reality.

The metal frame underlines the work’s double character of construction and the imperative. Reality doesn’t allow it self be reduced to signs, yet man must constantly try to do so – in order to relate to his surroundings. The portal is not open as we do not grasp reality through script. But in the work, “the writing on the wall” itself is found as a part of reality and points out to us that the use of signs is a fundamental way for man to exist in the world.


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