Current exhibition

Mladen Stilinovic, Pain
November 29th, 2014 – January 17th, 2015
Opening November 29th from 6pm

On power, pain and…

…when I say power, I am not only thinking of the power of the state and of its institutions but also of the hundreds of different powers that become intertwined, coming from different sides. They come from states and from individuals, from East and West, from “friends” and from the administration. These powers are to be found everywhere: in the newspapers, in language, in the arts, in the “given freedom”, in the truth and in my fear.

I have always wanted to write how subtle power was. And I did. Power is cynical, occasionally subtle (can that be) but more or less crude and open. Power is characterized by the total ignorance of others. That cynicism of power is caused by not knowing about things and even the desire not to know.

A story
In the middle of the day it (power) says good night and looks me in
the eyes and I feel ashamed for it. I know that one day I shall repeat
good night (for one learns by repetition even unconsciously), but
through repetition one does not learn only to repeat but also to forget.

In my art I showed that cynicism of power convinced that in comparison with that cynicism art was nothing, absolutely nothing. I am convinced that art is nothing. Nothing, pain. A manifestation of powerlessness, visionlessness, a blindness, deafness…, a pain that lasts…, in zero.
When I say pain, questions are immediately raised: what pain, whose pain, wherefrom the pain, as if pain had to be explained, analyzed. There’s nothing to be explained… the pain is there.
“Together with language you’ve learnt the notion of pain” said L. Wittgenstein, and I say: in a twofold way, as pain and as pain language. Pain is not in language. Language inflicts pain. “Words that you hear inflict pain and the words that you pronounce. Nothing hurts, because you do not know what it means to feel pain, and everything hurts, for you do not know the meaning of anything. Since you do not know the name of anything, everything inflicts pain, although you do not know that it hurts, for you do not know what the phrase “to feel pain” means. (P. Handke: Kaspar). The artist is Kaspar. Just as Kaspar learnt from Wittgenstein so Wittgenstein will learn from Kaspar.

a – pain                                  abed – pain                             aboard – pain
aback – pain                          abet – pain                              all – pain
abandon – pain                     abeyance – pain                      abode – pain
abash – pain                          abhor – pain                           abolish – pain
abate – pain                          abide – pain                            abolition – pain
abbey – pain                         ability – pain                           abominable – pain
abbreviate – pain                  abject – pain                           abortion – pain
abdicate – pain                     abjure – pain                          acclamation – pain
abdomen – pain                   able – pain                              acclimatize – pain
abduct – pain                       abnegate – pain                      acclivity – pain

etc. whole dictionary.

Mladen Stilinović, 1994.

First time published in Preoccupations, Galerie l’Ollave, Lyon, 1994