THE FOOL’S YEAR
The awareness that they are about to make the continuum of history explode is characteristic of the revolutionary classes at the moment of their action. The great revolution introduced a new calendar. The initial day of a calendar serves as a historical time-lapse camera.
One of the first things that caught my attention upon my arrival in Berlin were the shops vitrines. Instead of hiring professional designers, shop owners seem to do themselves the arrangements and decorations of the vitrines, in a rather amateurish, spontaneous and funny way. A copyshop, for example, has a huge display of orchids, whose relationship to printing remains gracefully incomprehensible, unless you think of the love of owner for these flowers. My installations at the vitrines I rented in the U-Bahn for my exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien are surely an homage to these handmade, do-it-yourself adorable displays.
When invited by SOX to occupy its vitrine on Oranienstraße, I had to quickly respond to it: as opposed to my project For the winners the potatoes which I nurtured during my one year residency, I had only two weeks to come up with something new. Time was short, so I decided to start with time, to be precise, the day of the opening: April the 1st or Fool’s Day.
One reads in the Wikipedia page devoted to it: In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25th in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1st. Some writers suggest that April Fools’ originated because those who celebrated on January 1st made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. So the ones celebrating another time were regarded as fools – but conversely it exposed the conventions of time measuring.
So Today, April the 1st, here in the street I present The Fool’s Year, a calendar where everyday is fool’s day – all the year condensed frozen in one single day or a single, initial day dilated and diluted into a year.
Each and every day is represented by a newspaper printed photograph of protesters holding posters, banners or flags whose specific political claim I carefully removed and substituted, early this morning by the date 1st of April, freshly printed in today’s newspapers. These images come from an archive, which I feed almost everyday of newspaper photographs. I love the language of protest, one doesn’t need to agree with its content to love it. For almost eight years I’ve been collecting them regardless of their political claim or their place. It is an archive of gestures, of pure “mediality” without “finality”.
So Today you see 365 images of protest, 365 days of the past, that claim nothing other than the awareness of Today. For to be regarded as a fool, is only a matter of being out of time, of breaking the clocks as Benjamin cites in his 15th thesis on the concept of history:
Who would have believed it!
We are told that new Joshuas at the foot of every tower,
as though irritated with
time itself, fired at the dials
in order to stop the day.