Sem Lala, Private Collection, Jeff Wall Production
I’ve been thinking of night rides and how I tend to perceive the road signage as a blurred out laserlike stream of reflective light. Or the long-exposure photographs of stars, where they look as though they’re falling through the viewfinder. In both cases, light in motion trails away. In a sense, it is not the light in itself that I experience, but its trailing movement. The light is the very falling that carries the light of the star across the sky; or the sign along the windshield of the car that I’m in. Here, the thing is the deferral of what the thing signifies, as though what we are witnessing is the verb, neither subject nor object. I get a sense of indeterminacy from this. I think the star, the sign– the object of meaning– is, under normal circumstances, perceived as static only because we happen to be falling in simultaneity with it. That in a sense, we are falling in simultaneity with it not only through space, but through a shared linear experience of time too. And it’s when I view this linearity from a timeless time, or a time out of time (perhaps the long-exposure instant, or perhaps the dislocation of form through reappropriation), that the trailing of light, and analogously, the deferral of meaning is made evident by the introduction of an indeterminate term. The trailing light is relegated toward a limitlessly extending, linear chain of signification, a line of loss upon which it never finds its footing; where it’s always restless. The object becomes processual. It becomes a flow that traces out the limit of the symbolic register of a historicity that sets the terms for the apprehension of what it signifies to: star: fixed point. Remote incandescent body that is like the sun. That the fixed point is actually one in flux, as an implication, devastates the subject– who leaves in its wake a formless and nebulous cloud of polysemic excess (and I am referring to the subject of phenomenology, the “I” that is the seat of intentionality, agency, experience and intuition). I often tend to think that both sex and catastrophe, much like timeless time, possess this disorganizing potential that could be directed toward the self-assuredness of human experience– what we perceive to primarily populate being. This is why I’m not going to pretend to be able to zero in on the art object. I don’t know what the object is. Indeterminacy devastates teleology too. The object, clearly, is not for my use. I can only make out a sense of becoming, a feeling of deferral through time that is arbitrarily off-shot in the dark. On the other hand, there is a sense of eroticism about the excess that survives the subject of phenomenology (the authority of which, especially since Hegel, has dominated continental philosophy). The nebulous dissipation of the subject leaves room for a negative indeterminacy. It is through this indeterminate void that we may come to recognize an excess of things– named and unnamed, past and future– that have equal stakes in existence: a surfeit of experience which would otherwise only be misrepresented in non-poetic language.
Sem Lala is an artist and musician currently based in New York, studying at Bard College. An important moment in the exhibition arrived last summer when gallerist Hugo Wheeler visited him in Elbasan, Albania. There they discussed how a loss or shift in agency through appropriation altercates work. He recently had his first solo exhibition at Plymouth Rock, Zurich (2021), and has previously exhibited at Weiss Falk, Basel (2020), gta Exhibitions, Zurich (2020), Haus Wien, Vienna (2021), Les Urbaines, Lausanne (2020), and Lateral Roma, Rome (2021). Under the alias Semka, he has performed at Istituto Svizzero, Milan (2021), National Gallery of Arts, Tirana (2021), and Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich (2020). Lala’s second EP will be released by Danse Noire in 2023.
Private Collection exists as a folder on a disk drive shown to us by Kyriakos Kyriakides in place of a studio visit before producing the works for this show. It is the personal accumulation of collected belongings, personal photos, advertisements, yearbooks, and documentation of artworks. Recent presentations of Kyriakides’ own work include And all you see is glory at The Island Club, Limassol (2022); Phenomenona, Anafi (2021); light gallows with Marina Xenofontos at bologna cc, Amsterdam (2020); Actor with Hannah Cass at H3art Gallery, London (2019); and Spritz Palace, with Aristotelis Nikolas Mochloulis and Stefanos Chrysanthou at Thkio Ppalies, Nicosia (2018).
Jeff Wall Production is the name of the production label initiated by Pierre Bal-Blanc, which takes the title of his first project dedicated to the artist with the same name in 1988. The subject of this seminal project has since become the trademark of the following projects. Notable films include: Employment Contract (on Felix Gonzalez-Torres) (1992) exhibited during “The Male Gaze From Y to Z” curated by Yann Beauvais and Dean Inkster 3rd Lesbian & Gay Film Festival at Jennifer Flay, Paris (1998); I GOT UP AT 8:59 AM OCT. 19 2021 (Preliminary Version) exhibited at Cinema Luminor (2021) and Kölnischer Kunstverein (2022); and Olympia Between (Preliminary Version) which will be exhibited at Hot Wheels Athens (2022) in the context of this show.