For a collateral event of the Venice Biennale of 2014 called 'Anima Mundi', I selected my ongoing work 1001 nights in objects (see my original statement about this work here). I spend a lot of my nights outside, in the streets, looking for something. During these hours of walking, thinking, encountering people and things, I started taking pictures of objects I encountered. They are neutral, 'innocent', and yet they tell a whole story, without conveying my experience of that night. When outside at night, it often seems as if all the colors, buildings, people and noises melt together into one entity. One anima mundi.
I took the photos I had made so far, and put them in a grid, as if it were a window into the night and into my experiences. I had it espacially put in a non-mirroring frame for extra visibility, because the pictures are quite dark and vague.
Arriving at the Palazzo Ca'Zanardi, the space in Venice where the exhibition took place, I met two men, Pablo and Bruno, who had helped with the installation of the artworks the day before. The confessed to me they had dropped my frame and broken it, but they had replaced it with another frame immediately and put it up on the wall anyway. I went to look at it, and saw it was mirroring glass, so the picture inside was barely visible. In combination with the big lights hanging from the ceiling, it was almost impossible to see what was in the frame.
I sat down at a table close by, and noticed visitors coming up to the frame and try to see what was inside. They would squeeze their eyes, come closer, hold a hand up over their eyes, look at it from different angles… exactly the kind of movements someone would make and the kind of body positions someone would take in front of a window, staring into the night.
This was an unforseen win for me. I went to the nearest artstore, bought pencils in the same blue, grey and black shades as the pictures in the frame, and started sketching the people in front of the frame. I tried to catch their posture, their gaze, and the way different people mirrored each other in fornt of the picture by taking on the same body position.
Pablo, Bruno and I all signed the pictures I drew right there in the Palazzo, I sold them on the spot and split the money with the two men who thought they had given me a serious problem, but actually made me realize how much life itself can be an artwork.