“Nothing” exhibition text
The work Lou Jaworski shows at GiG Munich operates in a context, which could be understood in Speculative Realist terms. The “Nothing” of the exhibition title refers not so much to the sparse, almost minimal quality of the work, nor to the commonplace understanding of nihilism as the questioning of the worth of existence, but rather to the definition given by Ray Brassier. He presents nothing as a consequence of the realist conviction that there is a reality independent from us, oblivious to the values and meanings we ascribe to it. In Jaworski’s work, “nothing” is taken as a speculative opportunity, to show thinking has other interests than those circling ceaselessly around man.
For the exhibition Jaworski presents a number of small objects, all of which refer to the otherworldly – to something outside the bounds of human experience. The human hand is absent from the magnet sculpture, which has formed from its own accord. A pencil has filling made of meteorite dust, first formed together with our solar system, well before the beginning of man. These objects act as indexes for the non-relational, in that they contain elements, which we, as the thinking human subject, cannot experience. Quentin Meillassoux would describe these as “arche-fossils,” in that they contain traces, not of past life forms, but of a time prior to the emergence of life.
As such, the work welds the same power the arche-fossil has, in that it questions the kind of correlationist thinking characteristic of critical philosophy, where reality is considered never in-itself, but always in relation to us. To begin thinking reality in-itself Meillassoux proposes the principle of absolute contingency, meaning, the arbitrary and radically unpredictable of transformation of things from one moment to the next. Likewise, all the objects in the exhibition feature this radical sense of transformation. What is ever slightly so wondrous about Jaworski’s work is that one does not know where it might lead. Beyond the human, yes, but also beyond what can be expected. The gleaming structure of a display unit is disrupted by spilt water; a pencil contains traces of the early universe; gold can be found in the eye of a needle. Contingency is approaching an object and not knowing where it might take you.
Magdalena Wisniowska 2017