Catalogue Essay: Flux & Permanence Exhibition
17 August – 8 September 2007
Ideology is a kind of vast membrane enveloping everything. We have to know that this skin exists even if it encloses us like a net or like closed eyelids. Hélène Cixous
The eye generates its own electrical activity through a continuous flow of pulsing synapses. This energy enlivens the body at a cellular level and creates the ability for sudden flight, sultry attraction, danger or desire. Even when the eyelids are closed there is a realm of nocturnal phosphorescence that evokes a memory of the physical world. This is the work of a layered eye immersed in looking, shaping, responding and creating through pulses that ripple their way down the cortex of the nervous system.
Marion Borgelt’s work has always been layered with an embodied sense of vision. While her work has been considered in terms that reference feminist practice or an interest in the sensual encounter with objects, a more unusual trajectory points to this aspect of material insight. Standing in the presence of her works is an exercise in heightened perception, increased pleasure and a tantalising awareness of knowing something more.
The more, in this new suite of works (Strobe Series), comes with the crackle of imbued light and kinetic energy. Wall works flash with the luminescence of bending light that illuminates the space of the viewer, in turn bending gravity and stability in that space. We are made to feel through our own bodies the twist and tilt of time. These works flicker under the skin and inside the very push and pull of existence. They allow us to speculate about the measures through which we normally contain our lives. The physicality of the work acting through visual pleasure gives us an opportunity to contemplate the laws of nature and their metaphysical and scientific resonance.
The sculptural installations – Tsukimi No. 1 (Japanese Moon Viewing ceremony) Lunar Arc and Lunar Circle – allude to the sequential measure of time and evoke the orbits of the moon or planets. Borgelt’s objects visualise or map the unseen but quintessential influences of these celestial bodies on our own sense of space and being. The sequences and intervals in the work track the ebb and flow of tidal pulse in a world perpetually in motion. At the same time there exists the possibility of a still point within continual flux.
This suite of works takes our interest to the vast reaches of physical space as well as the microcosm of cellular life. Borgelt is interested in investigating both the phenomena of organic activity and the scientific vocabulary that arises from ideas like string theory and the search for the underlying order of things in a complex but elegant universe.
Borgelt creates evocative forms that lie at the edge of language. The fundamental units of this vocabulary concern the measurement of time and the abstracted if not mysterious nature of light, space and kinetics. The manifold possibilities of art emerge in the unlikely context of the mathematical calligraphy of scientific theory. In all their beautiful physicality, Borgelt’s works provide a ritual site for a theatre of the spirit.
Rod Pattenden is an independent writer and curator. He is Chairperson of the Blake Society for Religious Art.