KIM ABELES: she knows how to dream in prose

(thank you Fernando Pessoa))


KIM ABELES  6 Self-Portraits with Files  1995
  Los Angeles

 

The interior life is often stupid. Its egotism blinds it and deafens it; its imagination spins out ignorant tales, fascinated. … A mind risks real ignorance for the sometimes paltry prize of an imagination enriched. The trick of reason is to get the imagination to seize the actual world — if only from time to time. (Annie Dillard)

( oxen )

KIM ABELES, Self-Portrait with Files, 1995, Courtesy of the artist

trying to GRAB the ACTUAL WORLD

by Rosanna Albertini

Leaves do not fall on the floor for a reason, a reason we can’t read or measure —secret dance of nature —and the eyes look about the yellow ripples searching for an order that isn’t there, it is only within us, mostly lost in a life we don’t understand and moderately control. Birth and death the ultimate truth. 

I bring back these self-portraits by Kim Abeles today for a special reason: they depict a woman in action, but they are stills. The woman engages all the energy of her body holding, pulling, birthing a package of files that are nothing but life, but once more truly still: documents, memories, flat monuments of some living things. 

The photographs are not about her SELF, they translate into paper images our stubborn conflict within a reality threatening us every day like the big mouth of a crocodile. Oh the teeth! They seem able to crumble every trace of humanity and especially like to chew the remains of freedom. Eventually the crocodile will go back to the swamp. It happened many times in the past. In the meantime our brain is scoured by the news. They are the semblance of life. They wrap themselves around the hours scanning time more than the old clock. See? all of this paragraph is a mental thing, as any thing else which is written.  

Kim, the artist, opens a different chapter: her body deals with the flattened life as another body. We see the weight of saving pieces of life on paper, heavy phantoms of the living, if phantoms can be heavy. 

( pulley I )

KIM ABELES, Self-Portrait with Files, 1995 Courtesy of the artist

( pulley 2 )

KIM ABELES, Self-Portrait with Files, 1995 Courtesy of the artist

( pulleygut )

KIM ABELES, Self-Portrait with Files, 1995 Courtesy of the artist

And we perceive her permanent struggle in preserving movement, the physical connection to something that was living and now is flat and black and white and  packaged. Each photograph is condemned to the same destiny. So you as an artist, Kim, you become a figure on the pile, maybe trying to stop flatness from growing, maybe adding your own?  

“Multiple emotions. Not just one life in one isolated body; make your soul the host of several bodies. Feel it vibrate to the emotions of others as well as to your own and it will forget its own griefs when it ceases to think only of itself. The outer life is not violent enough; more poignant tremors result from inner surges of rapture.” André Gide, The White Notebook

( birthing )

KIM ABELES, Self-Portrait with Files, 1995 , Courtesy of the artist

Online dictionary: e-motion: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others… moving from, mid 16th century. 

The artist’s actions are literally e-motions. Her soul, invisible, is the engine of her actions, silencing her mind.  

Levitation: reality, the pile of files, looks pregnant with her.

Birthing: she gives birth to the pile of files, just a physical need. 

André Gide again: “I was then a child. I did not understand that the mind is nothing and passes away while the soul still remains after death. … What is the soul?

The soul is our will to love.”

 levitation )

KIM ABELES, Self-Portrait with Files, 1995, Courtesy of the artist