What Is and What Should Never Be
duo w/ Alina Yakirevitch
curated by Myles Starr / Louis Reed, New York

Neuer Kunstverein Wien
June 8 - July 15

The two-person show consists of a large video projection by Alina Yakirevitch and five spatial photograms by Martine Flor.

Six spatial photograms hang from the ceiling. The image permeates the fabric, closing in on itself in extreme isolation, but simultaneously acting as a translucent boundary between space, surface and object. As both carrier and sign, the photograms display the inevitable separation of language from the distance needed to make sense of it: a preverbal wish of merging which is never fulfilled.

Process: I take several sheets of polyester fabric and soak them in a photographic emulsion made of liquid silver chlorobromide. I hang the wet sheets over tables and chairs in a room, where they cover the interiors as shrouds. I then expose the shrouds with a flash of ceiling light, before developing them photochemically and drying them on stretchers.

I repeat the process until it is exhausted.

The results are impressions, not prints.’

Photo credit: Manuel Carreon Lopez / Kunst-dokumentation.com

Echoes From a Scene, 2021-2022
Series of five works, and text
Spatial photogram on Polyester
Dimensions variable

Soaking, folding, hiding, revealing -

In this process a crucial distance is about to cease, be caught and captured in a blink, about to be exalted, merged, namely the primary distance between the
I and the it, the object and its representation, the mirror and its reflection, the medium and the message; a collapse of distance, of perspective, so close it becomes translucent, abstract, so close they become it, it becomes I, and I become Thou. Something emanates from the object, something other than its observable, measurable qualities; there is a yell, and an answering longing, and in this process, the Real, the unsymbolizable Real, meets reality, revealing something else than what the naked eye can see; a moment of merging, in a blink, a longing for unity, becoming visible, a cessation of separation, caught, captured – a dark radiation making its marks.

The textiles are receivers, receivers of this event, and carriers of parts of a whole that can only be glimpsed or embodied in fragments. The whole image thus exceeds the borders of the textile, and stretches out, underneath, endlessly, hidden. Embodied is the revealed, stepping forward, in-between the gaps, in fragments; a glimpse of the whole, but not the whole.


Echoes from a Scene, a scene yells, the scene, the primary scene, primary thought and primary words - I and Thou, I and It, Mother and I - separation and being doomed to language - thrown out of the warm, carrying placenta, the womb, that of which all language will always bear residue. Being thrown out in the sterile light of creation, separation, latency and lack - but also in melancholy and love - I speak, I mourn, I write. Language being the ur-trauma, the crime-scene of the fall, the crime-scene of the endless struggle and repetition, repetition in language, never quite able to grasp or to speak the world around me, without latency, without lack, without distance, and without medium. Language is the medium I am bound to, and the medium I feel as a medium and want to get rid of, because it seeps out, it flows underneath, I am half and part It, and it has an underlying life.

The French philosopher and art historian George Didi-Huberman writes on the Shroud of Turin:

“The stain we are concerned with here remains (...) since it cannot be explained by the theory of a negative flash of light, archeiopoetic, [made without a hand] (...). It doesn't seem to lend itself to being raised up (in the sense of the dialectical Aufhebung) into something figurative; it seems to defy comprehension as a recognizable image. (...) Between the spatium (the background in question) and the pure surface, this stain reveals itself only in the precarious opening of the becoming visible; (...). It says nothing. It doesn't seem made to be understood (whereas a figure, a recognized image, a facial appearance always point to or at least carry the promise of meaning).” Didi-Huberman, Georges. The Index of the Absent Wound (Monograph on a Stain), October Journal Vol.29, 66. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984.

Imprinting, scratching, kneading - carving, rubbing, pressing

The climactic release of my material processes ends in a sort of automatism, a moment when something is released, when something relieves itself from the idea, from the thought, the form, or the technique, detaches itself and elevates. The processes build up over a longer period of time, and reach the climactic, automatic release at some unexpected point, in a flash, made without a hand, a gesture, 
archeiopoetically, in that moment, released. The indexes of these flashes, the embodiments of these, are later defined and become the series of work, the actual material investigations themselves, nothing added or taken away. They become the witnesses, the material witnesses of something concretized, something outside of thought, but still inside language somehow, some Other language somehow.


Julia Kristeva in “
Revolution in Poetic Language” connects the index (or as she writes: the distinctive mark, trace, precursory sign, proof, imprint), directly with ‘the semiotic sphere’. Are these thus the signs of the mater-ial itself? The echoes from the mater-ial community, the magical - both singular and secret, corresponding with the preverbal in me? To the I’s dark half, the non-subject? Are my indexical investigations the closest I can get to strip my language and get to its receptacle, its ur-substance, the nourishing placenta? Are they a direct response to the unsymbolizable yell? As enigmatic and open signs that communicate to something else than the rational, logical language. Bound to singularity, particularity, there has no meaning without a hand that points, I is void without a I that speaks, without a body that speaks, an I separated from You, from It, but also defined by You and It.

Excerpt from text On Becoming The Origo - Martine Flor