HAUSER & WIRTH, LONDON
|Shadow Walker 2011 video installation, sound|
duration: ca. 3 minutes
My talent as an artist is to walk across a moor or place a stone on the ground
My work is about movement and stillness
the walking and the stopping places
In 2009 the Hayward Gallery featured a different approach: its Walking in My Mind exhibition explored the inner working of several artists' imagination through dramatic, large-scale installation art.
In September 2014 Frederic Gros, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris XII and author of The Art of Walking and Slowing Down was at Tate Modern in conversation with the British conceptual artist Richard Wentworth, who also chronicles daily life, challenging our taken-for-granted assumptions about the things that surround us. 'Look', he says, 'a plate is the only object where you get your own and the minute you have finished with it, it is someone else's'. In the book and the discussion there were lively excursions into the way Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Rousseau, Kant and Proust 'used' walking.
It doesn't take long for us to see the shadows as having an autonomous existence, as ‘real’ as the artist’s actual body. I recall this happening in the first playground game I encountered. On a sunny day our object was to step or jump so nimbly that both feet landed firmly on someone else's shadow. Because shadows move so fast the possibility of disputes was endless but the stakes were high. If two feet had encroached on your shadow everything was spoiled: you became a bystander, out of the game, wanted by no one. A 'no-body'.
Fascination with shadows and the fear/delight at losing them has a long history. J M Barrie's version of Peter Pan’s shadowy dilemma is central to his story: stolen from Peter, rolled up and put in a drawer as a bargaining counter, treated with soap and stitching in an effort to reunite it with its owner. J.M. Barrie writes that when Peter thought he was going to die he felt scared - and blithe - famously remarking "To die will be an awfully big adventure'
A paradox is that a mirror offers the promise of self-reflection and the recognition of our unique identity. Here, however, the mirrors revolve implacably above our heads, remote and inaccessible. No part of us will smudge or blemish their purity.