Leap of Faith 709

The transition between states is generally associated to a certain fluidity, perhaps by fault of an empirical observation with the naked eye, of the more common transformations of states from solid to liquid, or from liquid to gaseous. In other words, to observe a pot of boiling water is to see two states simultaneously, the liquid and the gaseous, which suggests an idea of ​​continuity. However, this transition is quite abrupt. If we exclude the temperature variation in the volume resulting from different proximities to the heat source - thus considering an hypothetical situation in a controlled environment - in which a line of drops of water in its liquid state was exposed, at exactly the same time, to a temperature of 100ºC ,we would then see that water line immediately turns into steam. This transformation therefore represents an absolute break with the previous state, implying a total reinvention of existence as a thing and whose ontological perception is manifested in the terminology itself - it is not water in different states; it's water, ice and steam.

For this idea of ​​abrupt transition Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher from the beginning of the sec. XIX, introduces the notion of “leap” referring to the method of change to the third and last stage of human life, the religious stage. Not dwelling on the analysis of Kierkegaarg's theory, let us assume that this transformation, as it implies a change in the subject at its deepest level - a change in the individual's own being -, cannot follow a rational code and, therefore, is easily explainable or interpretable. Accepting this condition of transition as a transformation implies recognising the inevitability of this change regardless of an evolutionary condition - since there is no gradation - and without resorting to a logical authority. This condition becomes more concrete if, like David F. Swenson in The Anti-intellectualism of Kierkegaard, we take as an example Newton's law of inertia considering the alteration of the resting state of an object to that of movement. The change between states occurring due to the interference of a force external to the initial system and motivation for the change is, therefore, “transcendent” and “non-rational”. The leap, as described by Kierkegaard, does not correspond to a specific moment and does not depend on an intentional personal construction, but occurs when one ceases to want to be in order to become, without justifiable reason, and is, therefore, a feat of conviction , of faith.

Leap of Faith appears as a response to the proposition of the opening of NO·NO, which results from a transformation that is a re-foundation. Referring simultaneously to the task of building a gallery project and the state of mind that motivates the new framing of the gallery, the title of the exhibition refers to an act of accepting or believing in something beyond the limits of reason. Just as Kierkegaard's “leap” represents a change from the state of skepticism to that of belief, the works presented explore this acceptance in addition to rationality as a system of individual validation of the artistic object, placing on the viewer the duty to accept the interpretations of the artworks and the relations they establish between themselves. The same phenomenon occurs as a fundamental and characterising condition of the process of artistic creation. It is in the passage from conjecturing to believing that an artwork is no longer an object and becomes an artwork, without apparent reason.
The selected works recover the Kierkegaardian concept of the transition of states, informally covering themes inherent to this condition such as acceptance, the occult, the unknown, the irrational and the will. These metaphysical readings are, however, subverted both by the physicality of the works and by the reference to the mechanics of jumping through representations of movement, carrying a feeling of instability and vertigo. The transition between states addressed in the works is thus interspersed with elements of characterisation of the human nature, such as fear, hesitation and error that result in feelings of lack of control instigated by wobbly movements, fragile objects and the propensity of imminent fall. Thus, the exhibition takes us to an earthly relationship, of objects and feelings that evoke a mundane condition of the passage between states.

Miguel Mesquita, May 2020