too much/not enough
The Incurably: Vida Simon’s Swiss Romantic Moment in Seven Clusters
Nico Pam Dick
1 Her abject sublime is also a remnant sublime, element sublime, transient sublime. Degradation of low-to-the-floor, diminution of body parts, wearing down of cloth, rusted cup, degenerated grouping, stunted/deteriorated/oddball organ. Leaving a trace, memory, unused end of fabric. Or starting from fragments, marks, that conjure new formations. Beyond system’s order to freed disorder. Not Alp but scrap, heap. Feral aesthetics. Pleasure, horror, fear—and the vast power of nature’s creation/destruction. Philosophy of stains.
2 Her poetic atomism forms molecular conjectures fromephemeral stacks, adjacencies. Charged clusters of elements arise and dissolve in a space of suspension. Figurative, abstract, or ambiguous drawings and items: simple or intricate. Her paraworld a collection of specslinking things, where specsimplies speculate, inspect, spy, specification, speck. Contra Democritus and Leucippus, here the atoms, too, are mortal, vulnerable.
3 Her materialist semantics allows for incantations, animations, questions, meditations. Compositional semantics, positional syntax: al/chemical. Like knowing like,or opposites in friction. With this creaturely and objectual corporealization, matter becomes annunciation. Her drawing or flipping through pages until a message arrives. Or dreaming up an idiolect. Condensation, displacement of torn or crumpled paper, salvaged rubber, folded cloth; booklets, dried pods, bunched shirts; spirals, bundles, knots. A restless archive, inventory: table of contents, periodic table, kitchen table, truth table, altar.
4 In this sanatorium for a Swiss miss, there are no wholes, therefore no cures, but there are parts and cares. From luxury to poverty. Heraclitus says a dry soul is best, Thales says all is water. To put inside you or put yourself into: liquid irrealism. Mineral water from philosopher’s stone. To revive, redeem? Slow, not instant: sensation, attention. And freed time of childhood. But a prosthetic leg factory, since something’s always missing. Her dolls’ limbs, little booties. Nature-baubles, nurture-trinkets. Minor, awkward, damaged, broken. Not the well-heeled but the unhealed. A fragile sublime. Youthful and/or aging. Fantastical organs, body cavities/sacks, speech balloons, underwater or collapsed creatures. Not bodies without organs but organs without bodies. Humour, weirdness, wonder, tenderness.
5 Her inventive I is free activity/sensitivity (see Novalis). Mark-making, gathering, stitching, spreading, etc. Testing, placing inher uncontrolled environment: careful but not cautious. Delicate indelicacy. Fugitive salvation. If-thenher experimental connective, and/orher devotional connective. Dynamic reverie of centrifugal, centripetal. Of iteration.
6 This illogical empiricism shows the organic, artificial, and cosmic as homologous. Objects conjure galactic debris in configurations. Scale shifts, as does dimension: 3D, 2D, 2 ½ D. Sculpture and drawing flip. Both suggest a human materialization beyond meat. Liquidity, dust? Spirit’s overflow? The elusive. Drawings hide, forms hint: ineffability of the sublime or private.
7 Her temporality makes objects props for possible performance or ritual by artist or viewer. In this forest, lab, theatre, chapel, there are stations of the mess/loss/bliss. Practice makes imperfect, prompts intimate looking—bending, crouching, sitting. Unfinished time: a momentary opening. Into questions—does this smudged drawing want to be put here? Why not play with your food for thought? Can’t art sublime her too much/not enough?
Vida Simon combines various media to form site-responsive installations and performances. She has presented her work internationally in diverse contexts: galleries, hotel rooms, storefronts, theatres, rooftops, abandoned houses, a former synagogue, a horse stable, a tiny church… Recent projects include A Very Slow Blue, a performance on Ile Tatihou (France, 2018), Ähnlichkeit, a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Lingen (Germany, 2017), and Carried Away, an ongoing collaboration with Jack Stanley (Comox Valley Art Gallery, BC, 2017; Galerie B-312, Montreal, 2018; Villatalla, Italy, 2018; Villa des arts, Dakar, 2019). Her work foregrounds improvisation, intimacy, fragility, and the resonance of ephemeral materials.
Writer and artist Nico Pam Dick (aka Mina/Gregoire/et al. Pam Dick) is the author of Moira of Edges, Moira the Tart(OPR, 2019), this is the fugitive (Essay Press, 2016), Metaphysical Licks (Book*hug, 2014) and Delinquent (Futurepoem, 2009). With Oana Avasilichioaei, she is the co-translator of Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (Book*hug, 2015). Dick lives in New York City and frequents Montreal.