A painter promised us a picture.
Here, in New England, having learned of his death, I felt once again the sadness of recognizing that we are but shapes of a dream. I thought about the man and the picture, both lost.
(Only the gods can make promises, for they are deathless).
I thought about the place, chose in advance, where the canvas will not hang.
Later, I thought: if it were there, wouldn’t it in time become one thing more – an object, another of the vanities or habits of the house? Now the picture is limitless, unending, capable of taking any form or color and bound to none.
In some way, it exists. It will live and grow, like music, and will remain with me to the end.Thank you, Jorge Larco.
(Men can make promises, too, for in a promise there is something that does not die.)
Jorge Luis Borges, The Unending Gift
As translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni, from the book “In Praise of Darkness”
The Unending Gift is an exhibition whose starting point is the eponymous poem by Jorge Luis Borges shown above. A poem about the gift and the absence of the work, two subjects which open up vast possibilities for reflection and dreaming. These two notions illustrate the issues raised during the gallery’s ten-year existence.Ten years of fabulous projects thanks to artists without whom nothing would have been or would be possible and thanks to you, the public, who have been unwavering in your encouragement and support for the gallery.
We wish to thank them. And we wish to thank you.
The Unending Gift. An evocative title.The exhibition aims to emphasise the unending gift that any artist gives by creating and offering up his work to the gaze of others.What does giving represent these days? Anthropologists, sociologists and philosophers have opened up avenues of reflection and written wonderful pages on the subject. Borges approaches it in a paradoxical manner, by default. It is by not having the painter’s work, never possessing it, that the painter gives something unlimited, something unending.
One of the missions of the gallery owner, despite the utopia that it perhaps entails, is to support the artist in offering the unlimited. The gallery owner may be regarded as a ferryman; and like other players in the artistic realm, he enables the artist’s energy to be transported and conveyed to the public. This aspect is highlighted in the rear room and on the 1st floor. In addition, the visitor will discover here and there works by artists not represented by the gallery, which are connected with works in the exhibition, and which show that all artists are the ‘son of ’ or ‘daughter of ’... This filiation and this idea of transmission of knowledge are always important to bear in mind.
The two ground floor rooms explore the body of Borges’s poem, i.e. the absence of the work - or even its invisibility - and the fantastic potential that any work may open up to the person who allows him or herself to be guided. The exhibitions at the gallery have always stressed the importance of showing any work in its truth, while allowing a fiction - that of the viewer - to spread out and unfurl. The idea of what art is cannot be owned by just a few people.
The works exhibited enable the viewer to move into an undefined field where the notion of limits is blurred, changing and liable to be redefined by everyone. Putting on an exhibition on the subject of absence raises many questions and enables everyone to explore the gaps in between, the things unsaid, the blind spots and to learn to trust in one’s own vision.