Mark Manders, Jarla Partilager

(2010)

Room, Constructed to Provide Persistent Absence

(2001–2002)

Iron, painted polyester, sand, ballpoint pen, rope, leather / Installation size variable

MM: I wanted to create a room through which the viewer could walk without really being present in it—as if the room could only be viewed from a distance, like in a shop window. Everything in this room points to the presence of an inhabitant, but at the same time, it feels like only absence can exist in the room.
This room consists of words that have been convert- ed into distant objects into which the inhabitant has receded. All the works in this room have been created to evoke an image of this inhabitant.
The iron chair was created through a combination of design processes employed during the last century, but these processes have been pushed so far and amassed to such a degree that the resulting chair consists purely of formal ideas with hardly any physical connection. The inhabitant is imprisoned in each element of the room and is freed again only when a visitor reads the objects. When the room was finished, I undressed, took out my lenses, and wedged the bundle of clothes—including my shoes and lenses—between the chair and the bed. The figure on the bed has been reduced to a body that one could hardly imagine capable of movement. The body has no arms and is completely at the mercy of its surroundings. The body has the same texture as the mattress and seems almost submerged in the bed. On the side is an iron construction that has been affixed to the body with small straps. A ballpoint pen hangs from this iron construction above the opening in this horizontal figure. The powerlessness exhibited by the figure and the position of the pen seem to arouse a permanent state of mutual desire. Between the nib of the pen and the opening in the figure is a focal point that stretches out in time toward an endless moment. This focal point seems to want to bring the figure to life but at the same time, actually emphasizes the dead, non-narrative aspect of the object even more.