text written by Jacques Rancière, from The politics of aesthetics.
Jacques Rancière writes that every object is a communal object – to be collectively understood and used. A glass is for drinking from, a car is for driving in, a pipe is for smoking tobacco with. But beyond this, the things around us are expressions of politics and hallmarks of how the world is organised. These things are symptoms of regimes of systematisation or views of the world – and expressions of how perceptibility is distributed. Visual art can of course also be interpreted according to this model; more so than ordinary objects in fact, since the function of the object of art is to ask questions about the status quo and the conventional forms in the world. The task of visual art is to give certainty and uncertainty a systematically free rein. Or, as Rancière’s colleague Alain Badiou writes: “to keep diversity together in a concrete form”.
As collective objects of uncertain function, objects in visual art are nevertheless instruments for distributing what may be perceived. But it must be emphasised that the object of art, as an instrument, must be continually rediscovered and given new functions and interpretations. Seen in this light, the object of art is a negotiable field, where the things of the world and the world itself can become subjects of debate. The art of Lisa Pacini, Christine Istad, Hennie Ann Isdahl and Mona K. Lalim presents sections of the world in an ambiguous area that for the time being lies somewhere between figuration and abstraction: their projects represent intervals in an investigation that has an almost meditative quality and is concerned with a study of the abstractions of everyday life, or the daily life of abstraction. I say “intervals” because between these artists’ objects there exist parallel networks of visual forms that generate an ongoing, tense and dramatic course of events. Each of these artists creates what could be called a “theatre of forms” which, when played off against each other and interpreted in the light of each other, produce a landscape motivated by curiosity, or an array of parallel figures of thought with analytical potential.