Martin Heidegger, 1927
...In der fundamentalen Stimmung des Schreckens haben wir dieses Ereignis in unserem Wesen erreicht, dank dessen nichts offenbart wird und worauf die Frage gestellt werden sollte.
We stand in wonder at the gates of Being, undeterred by the sufferings of the world. From the perspective of the here and now, unrestrainedly Being-in-the-world, how to reconcile these all the varieties of the experience of time? Subject, object, place, world, cosmos, infinity, chaos. If we were to disentangle the difficult correlations between subject and object/thought and being, and their internal contradictions, from the pure reality of things Doing-in-the-world, and the anachronistic dogma of aesthetics, what kind of objects would issue forth? The apodixis of an object would be in itself an ideal form, circling back to the Platonic tradition. The only gateway to escape from the burden of time, of death, is the world of myth – the eternal return: In “Anizotropia”, Valentin Korzhov returns to the origin of Chaos, Hesiod's theogony, where Cronus, a primary divinity, also identified with unending duration, prior to Cosmos, begets Aether, Chaos and the Night as spirit-matter, the bound and infinite, from which everything springs, equipped with 'neither limit nor foundation'. In this world of ancestrality, matter is ready-at-hand in the Heideggerian sense of thrown-ness, and unmediated existence coalesces with truthfulness. These sculptural interventions might not appear logical from the perspective of linear time, but insofar as they have broken the correctness of representation at the heart of the Western tradition, they do not speak of abstraction or figuration, but of present-ness – simultaneously existing in different tenses, in the underlying tensions of the hypokeimenon but without a reference to fall back upon. Without future or past, speaking from a primeval void, these creative acts move through an ethereal space, not grounded in mathematical surfaces or in the regimes of historical consciousness; they're not grounded in general.
The unconscious shines forth from the source of the mystery, throwing us upon the most vertiginous truth: Freedom is a foundation that doesn't found.
“Dasein:” Being held out into the nothing. The most elementary definition of that elusive “Being”, the substance through which we exist, out of nothing, and without destination. With the Copernican discovery of abstract space, we were forced out of our metaphysical home with the Gods, and had to invent stories about ourselves when we faced the terror of the nothing. Falling down the road of eternity, we experience the vertigo of the Fall, and for the first time we are able to measure by extension our brief earthly life, as opposed to the infinite terror of the outer limit. But how does the fragmentary experience of extension enable us to participate in the whole of eternity? Inside the deep time of the universe, by that logic, there is no movement at all. If truth is then historically constructed, how does it appear in time? Soon we realize, to our dismay, as Agnes Heller has pointed out, that objective outside time, has no relation to men, it's a speculative concept that seemingly has no use, except in space physics. There's NO TIME! In Valentin Korzhov's series “Being and Time”, prototypes of physical non-personal time come to life, or rather to standstill, the “nunc stans” of the Gnostics, as cosmic vessels, based on astrophotography of galactic accumulations, nebulae and meteor belts. These photographs however are theoretical models, achieved through overlapping data and color variations perceptible to the human eye – the representation of time is a scientific model. Our clocks are ticking, ticktock ticktock, ever since the industrial revolution began to measure labor time, but the world is ever the same – an aggregate of phenomena, it's not even a place. Past the boundary of the horizon event, there's nothing but Chaos. Being is flowing free through the open cracks of this primeval disorder, shattering the vessel of time and the mechanical earth. When we gaze up at night, what we see is the freedom of Being (held out into the nothing), the ruins of time, stealthily collapsing into the void.
BEING AND TIME
Who was the first human to gaze up into the sky? From the ancients, who bequeathed us the map of the starry sky, we learnt the first truths – time and space. But our abstract concept of spatiality, closely intertwined with paradox, didn't exist for Aristotle; the Greeks understood the world only in terms of place and motion. In the course of the scientific revolutions of the 17th century, space was born out of the conflict between the enlargement of the deep universe and the shrinking of our bodily perceptions – our size has been forever diminished. But what is space then? Is it in the void that we look away from, in the surfaces that bend our visual field or a mathematical set of points? Valentin Korzhov's shapeless surfaces and polyhedrons belong not among the limited definition of sculptural objects, but they're rather the what-ness of our earthly life: We are co-extensive with space. Wherever we go and make matter move, even if just by the soft paddling inside our heart – space changes. Laid out on a snowy white field in the Moscow suburb of Nikolina Gara, where the contours of the landscape merge seamlessly with the uneven contours of pure white objects thrown in space, what we are looking at are not objects but phenomena: They are inspired by distant astronomical bodies captured by the Hubble Telescope. These infinitesimally remote astral projections, do not exist out there as we have seen them, or at least not anymore – they are both representation and archetype of our primeval consciousness, not unlike that part of ourselves we uncannily find in the prehistoric art. If space is a combination of locales, as Heidegger suggests, how do we arrive at space at all? Once upon a time, at the beginning of history, physical space and metaphysical place coincided, but this perfectly hierarchical arrangement had to be destroyed in order to make place for paradox: After the era of the space race, the lights of the sky have suddenly turned dimmer, we are no longer gazing up. Yet our imbalance remains.
That the ruins of time, a favorite psychoanalytical metaphor for the unconscious, coined by Freud, is a site, that is, a spatial metaphor, gives a profound insight into the structure of temporality: Time is all what is being shredded by time, and abandoned, the debris of an ancient relic. Yet the content of this vessel, remains unknown to human beings; we have only ever seen the aftermath, and so is with the history of Being – what is sought after is its significance, not its meaning. The interpretandum in Valentine Korzhov's series “Desolation” (we refuse to call it metaphor, for that would imply one thing being the meaning of another, and hereby we are concerned with the possibility of the absolute) is the Platonic dodecahedron, a polyhedron with twelve flat faces, that according to Plato's theory laid out in the dialogue Timaeus, constitutes the shape of real solids (primary constituents – air, water, fire, earth): “the god used it for arranging the constellations on the whole heaven”. The Aristotelian “aether” which is the quintessential matter of the universe (equivalent to our astronomical dark matter) was later considered one of these solids. Through kinesis, the different dodecahedrons – of which there are twelve basic forms and infinite complex forms, stand in agreement with Plato, mimicking the mechanics of heaven with their motions and sounds. A sense of latency pervades through the material – bronze juxtaposed by hollowness – that is yet ready to awake anytime but doesn't. The most salient feature of the dodecahedron, discovered by Pythagoras, however, is that although much theorized by mathematicians all the way to Euler's topological proof, its use has never been found. When meaning has already been lost, how do we reconstitute ourselves? How do you return to the place of origin when the referents have been erased? In the desolation, after time (time is always ending or has ended), when the metaphysical space has been erased into arbitrariness, our voice resounds through a hollow mask.