Through whole life, death is dancing with us. Like a shadow, a fact that you can’t negotiate with. A silent fact without meaning, and though it is actually what gives life meaning. If you do as we do today, googling before you think and search for “images of death”, then you can buy over 600.000 pictures through Getty Images. The pictures shown, is commonly very disturbing and violent. These pictures gives us confusion and disgust, but why? We know the story, the atrocities, but these deaths still have a body parts and meat, that we can identify ourselves with.
I experience their bodies and imagine my body. Typically, there are two levels, two camera settings in Google's collection of photographs. The close where the images are individuals and the great perspective where the distance creates another level where the six executed hang their heads down or twelve naked corpses are thrown into a container. The close-up images depict individuals, while the images in the "larger" perspective illustrate a "higher" plan, an idea, a case in which the camera zooms out and the gaze is shifted from individuals to victims of a case or idea. Empathy is different, one for an individual, the other for a cause, but the empathy is acquired in a common body. We can feel or feel the pain at the near level, but we can hardly understand the violence at the more distant level. Which throughout history has made it easier to kill for a cause. Death is present on both levels, but it is not the same realisation.
The case in Chile, like many more cases from the catholic church was exposed to the public the last years. 53 priests was convicted for pedophilia i the court, that the state of course had completed. Many cases has been hard to collect evidence, so many of these 53 priests walked away without the right judgement. These cases affected Marco Evaristti whom is born in Chile, and also raised to the Roman Catholic Church because it permeates much of the culture in the country.
Because the injustice and the system that first produced the abuses since trying to hide them are almost systematically perpetrating injustices generation after generation and continue to produce new abuses. It all becomes a terrible cocktail of desire and longing for love, need for trust and breach of trust, and protection and abuse of power. For a long time the artist has been working on how to confront society with these stories or should we call the systemic oppressive and inhumane practices of the church. This is where the problems for the artist begin. How can one depict abuses as cruel as there are or must one seek other expressions? And should you? Marco Evaristti chose to go directly to the players of the abuses. Not a generalized allegation of abuse, but the unnamed priest or cardinal who is convicted. A name comes up - you did that injustice, but the victims? After years of denial what is so justice. It is a difficult balance that the internet has further updated because everyone can post pictures online and then the pictures and texts have their own lives. They float around cyberspace, anyone can use them and in turn own them. Everyone can be hanged one day and sacrifice the next on the web because there is no sender and recipient on these communications. At the same time, the Web can act as the weak opportunity to point out injustices without stopping it. New communities can emerge that power cannot control. Evaristti makes the accusation through the name, but he generalizes the actions by making them skeletons and the sexual assaults are derived from testimony, not grown out of the artist's "dirty" imagination, but actual actions described in the lawsuits. Because it could be easy to reject the images on the grounds that they had grown out of an artist's sick brain. As the surrealists tried to examine the images of eroticism and sexuality in the 20s and 30s. The images are at once directly accusatory and images of a general culture. They become responsible as individuals, it is your actions and you that are doomed, but the system goes on.
Abstinence is thus a self-suppressive system, for humans are sexual. It must be from the thinking that the one who controls the drivers also controls the people. Often, women's seductions on the part of men have been seen as exploiting the weaknesses of men and therefore it was sinful. Not man's drives, but women's as men couldn't resist. They are poor. But pedophilia has not been described in the same way and for good reason. The priests or other pedophiles do not say that they have been seduced by powerful forces outside themselves. After all, it is their own urges as they are if they are attracted to other women or men. Sexuality lies deep within ourselves and that is the wonderful thing about it. Sexuality is called animalistic but is equally cultural and deep within the human mind. A fantastic engine in our minds. And come to terms with many plans that are not aimed at anything particularly carnal, but that time experienced and created by and in the bodies we are in. something specific to a more general indictment. Just like the dance of death the pictures showed all the rulers in dance with the death that everyone must meet. That way, death was fair. Marco and death Matters of life and death have long worked in Marco Evaristti's works. In Helena & El Pescador from 2000, he used eight blenders with live goldfish as a laboratory experiment to investigate our relationship with death today. The laboratory is traditionally the method of recognition of science. You have a hypothesis that can be rebutted or rebutted and this collective method has created many of our common world views. The art is the laboratory of the individual. In art, the artist thinks, and in the meeting with the work we think with the artwork. The experimental setup was as simple as it was terrifying. Do you want to push the button and kill the goldfish or will you not. Helena was both a study of the possibilities of art, the functions of art in society and the reactions of the audience. Man is today the master of life and death. Seen in an Anthropocene light, that is exactly what we are doing. Today, more people are killed by our way of life, our lifestyle and self-created climate change than natural diseases and natural disasters. In fact, we have already pressed the button, we just will not stand by it. Helena is an installation, it does not imagine anything else. It is a child of the avant-garde's furious and despairing struggle to draw art into reality and influence the world. Art should not just be art and imagine something else. It should be something in itself, a reality in itself. It is not a painting of a laboratory or a photograph of the world, it is parts of the world we face albeit on a small scale. A readymade experimental set up with everyday things that are at your fingertips. One can imagine a discussion that ends with one of the participants saying, “look here, if I take a blender and a goldfish from the aquarium, are you so willing to push the button? "No more philosophical and moral assumptions, just this question you want to kill? It gets so shaky simple and that is probably why the work created discussion all over the world. It was a clear picture on a very complicated question. Dance of death Death is not to be grasped, therefore religions address precisely where life cannot provide explanations. "We begin and we end without beginning and end: without having a beginning and an end that is ours," writes Jena Luc Nancy, "I cannot have my beginning and my end as my own. "But paintings, if one is to believe Alberti in della Pittura (1436) with a divine power, can not only make the absent present, they can also show the dead to the living. For a portrait is a struggle against oblivion and death. It requires one to have a face to remember. Evaristti's "portraits" are not individuals they speak from elsewhere. Almost contrary to Derrida's understanding of the picture. In The Gift of Death he writes: the power of the image is the power of death in that it does not wait for death, but it is inscribed in and inscribed for all that await death. The King's portrait is painted to overcome death and in anticipation of it. The power of the image comes precisely from this double death struggle.