"Only in chaos are we conceivable."
- Roberto Bolaño, 2666.
The creation of something from nothing is
the totalising myth in the cosmogony of all human cultures. From
the darkness within the embrace of Ranginui and Papatuanuku through
the Tohu Wa-bohu of Genesis to the pre-Big Bang singularity of the
physical sciences, all narratives of creation begin from an
American academic Eugene Thacker
describes black, its absence of light and absence of colour as a
condition of 'retinal pessimism: there is nothing to see (and
you're seeing it)' 1. This absence, this denial of sight is the most
immediate metaphor we have for the nothingness that preceded the
universe, will be there after the universe, and is the darkness
that falls behind all things. Against this background of
unknowability any statement of ontology is a cosmological
There is a well defined
history in painting of black as the field from
which form emerges. The interminable shadows of the
Tenebrists, the luminous horrors of
late Goya, the absolute negation of Malevich, and the
starless backdrops of Hotere's polemics all speak to the
notion of black itself as something other from which light and life
Acknowledging this lineage and
employing the modalities of abstraction as codified language this
series of works attempts to negotiate with this 'divine
darkness' 2 that Thacker identifies. Making use of various
allegories of creation, Black Mirror
is a statement of and enquiry into existence.
Accepting uncertainty as the necessary initial state of all things,
that which emerges from darkness and into being is as much a con-
dition of what could be as what is.
1. Thacker, E. (2013, July
17). Black on Black. Retrieved from
2. Thacker, E.(2013) Divine
Darkness. In Speculative Medievalisms:
Discography. Eileen A. Joy, Anna Klosowska,
Nicola Masciandaro, and Michael O'Rourke (Eds.).
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