Balice Hertling

Sebastian Black

Three New Shapes

23 Apr - 23 May 2015

© Sebastian Black
Three New Shapes
23 April - 23 May 2015

The first shape is an aquatint on paper. The image is composed of black boxes. A black box in certain fonts (Helvetica here) represents a full stop, a period. A black box painted on a canvas 100 years ago would have proclaimed a full stop of sorts too; that the same box now merely designates a period isn’t besides the point.

The print is accordion bound and displayed here upright on two big pedestals. The hope is that it becomes extroverted, less book more folding screen. Folding screens are shapes which ostensibly order space by obscuring disorderly shapes. Luckily they make flimsy disciplinarians;

think of fig leaves and their attendant etceteras. What I mean is the screen becomes a surface on which we project all sorts of new and naughtily assembled shapes and in this respect it performs the opposite of its stated intent. If we want to be serious we could say that a folding screen is an opacity which creates transparency, a device for seeing through the given into the possible.

Nowadays most (usually flat) screens do the exact opposite. Through their seemingly endless capacity to represent they transform the possible as such into a mundane succession of givens.

Today’s ‘transparent’ screens actually conceal. They are very opaque black boxes.

A sticky vinyl letter is flat until you peel it up and fold it. I guess I mean it is first and formost a shape, ambivalent about the complimentary propositions: meaningless stuff and stuffless meaning.

2 and 3
These two aren’t entirely new shapes per se. There is a desk whose form is borrowed from a building and a building whose form is borrowed from a desk. The building is the Ministry of Finance in Paris.

I like that it has an embarcadero, an architectural appendage which proposes a speedboat as a viable alternative to email. The desk is a standard piece of furniture found near the A.T.M.s at any Chase Bank branch. These objects used to hold deposit slips and collect wastepaper. Now that most transactions occur digitally they mainly just hang around. Both shapes are atavisms in some regard, kind of like tailbones. Writing is their shared invisible tail. Also both shapes borrow from banks. However the terms of their contracts remain ambiguous.


Tags: Sebastian Black