Things that don´t want to die

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Things that don´t want to die

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The decisive importance of banality

In ancient French, the word “ban”  was a synonym for fief.  Hence “band”, an edict addressed to the community as a whole.  And also “banal”, which  originally meant “common to all the members of a population”

Pablo Garber´s deep and subtle art  takes us back,  with great skill, to this second derivation  to help us understanding the far from simple texture of trivial things. His camera dives into apparently banal objects ( they could have also been gestures,  a way of laughing, a manner of speaking)  which stop being so  the moment we realize that, one way or the other, we are all attached to objects of such kind  and that we do it in an effort to mitigate our helplessness.

It is not only a  matter of the world constantly changing, of everything around us becoming  more and more opaque and harder to recognize.  Our own selves are in a permanent state of flux and  our lives  become runaway horses we can hardly  control  and  even less understand, the way we might have once imagined we would. That is when an old button or a worn out pillow or a stale box of shells  cease to be banal things to become a temporary guarantee of our own permanence, signs that we know fragile and and wish to protect for this very reason  since they seal the continuity of the particular history we inhabit and that inhabits us.

Pablo´s stills masterly immobilize that twofold movement  to let us understand it better. On the one hand, he puts a variety of trivial things in front of the inattentive observer to invite him to step back and ask himself why  the artist is doing that since everyone does save objects like these. On the other hand, he  shows to that observer the extent to which the owner´s look is always different,  because it “de-banalizes” and confers a specific value to  those seemingly unimportant things.

That is why I am convinced that the title of this series is intentionally ironic and a clever way to  to test us as viewers. Because things  are not the ones that refuse to die. We strive against their disappearance although we know  quite well they will most probably survive us anyway.  What is at stake is nothing more and nothing less than  finding consolation  for our finitude and drawing as many veils as we can over our death. Pablo Garber implicates us in his  work and leaves us before an open horizon of meanings which everyone is called to close as best as he can. That is the merit of  a true artist.

José Nun