Artist: Stephen G. Rhodes
Venue: Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles
Exhibition Title: Peccatum Leucocephalus
Date: April 21 – May 18, 2013
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles
Patient Logg as Uncorrelatable Travelogue (altered daily)
2/13 More restless fumblings of the objects that preoccupied the debilitated art historian. It is also clear there is building anxiety of this patient’s preoccupation with the subject of that art historian, Warburg, and a desire to escape the vortex that has preoccupied the patient for years, which debilitated the art historian before. The associations, or rather dissociations, have materialized in succeeding stages. Investment, displacement, confinement. Is this a desire for the Anal Stage or were these iterations of subject/object dissociation always a snake dance in the Anal Stage?
2/15 Misidentification as a metamorphosis. Escape as trans existence. The subject of Warburg – who had to recount his body carried in horror to another continent learning of snakes as lightning, or lightning as snakes – the lubrication of the earth. Disimpaction. Constipation of symbols. Gluttony of symbols. Amplified Constipation.
2/21 Patient’s phobia of snake – proximity to venom everywhere. The snake being that which we know is everywhere but can’t see, don’t want to see. The phobia of the snake’s anti geometry – knowing it’s a line but never appearing to us as one. Lampooning or desire to understand it. Laughing at us, terrorizing us. Reclaiming territory, reclaiming earth. The thought of a turd as a line coming out of the ass and yet its form never following in effect. The phobia of stepping on a turd and then having the turd form a line attaching itself back to the body this time with Poison.
2/21 This countered by Warburg’s more pleasant arguments of the snake. The shedding of skin. Adaptability. Renewal. Hibernation so as to intensify life. If we master poison, the earth will be lubricated.
2/21 Knowing this lecture was performed in a house of debilitation and renewal. How does the snake figure into the process of rehabilitation? Is it the dichotomy of Dionysian and Apollonian together/metamorphing. The snake cannot take steps.
2/27 The Disembowelment of these previously formalized dissociations likened to the Out Take – that genre of excess where we archive elements that have been abandoned (repressed) in the process of articulating a story. The focus on the excrement.
3/1 The anxiety of describing the story. The anxiety of articulating any unitary story – being impossible anyway in Trauma. Yet still the vein/vain insistence on the appearance of there being a story to tell. Not only the misguided (doomed) narrator but the unreliable narrator. A condition of the reader following the narrator into the unknown. Recalls the genre of the Weird Story that H.P. Lovecraft thrived/dwelled in. Recouping this genre for a non Language Genre of walking through objects. Lovecraft’s lifespan not far from Warburg.
3/3 Uncle Sam Unknown Life span – the source of this mythical symbol hardly survives, more lost, dead. Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy?
3/4 The Law of the Unknown Neighbor – the condition of cruising the library where we discover the book that we did not intend to find.
3/7 Snake skin – survival/death. Checkerboard – sanatorium floor death/survival. Rehab – survival/death (but afterlife), snake survival/life.
3/9 Call of Cthulhu tracks curious experts pathological drift to find answers about an object of alien origin to regions of pagan survival leading the narrator to traumatic impasse. This passage at the beginning of the story resonates with our patient’s own anxiety of synthesizing the dissociations on display.
from Cthulhu – “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”
3/13 The Bald Eagle is an incarcerated symbol of emancipation. Can it be emancipated itself? Uncle Sam is a symbol or perpetual wrongness. “Don’t forget me” “You shouldn’t be here” … of Guilt.
3/13 The Bald Eagle makes a giant nest that it abandons. Somehow returns to.
3/15 The life historical process of intoxication and detoxication. The necessity of both. The madness of both.
3/17 As if to avoid a fixation on that text the patient now enlists Karl May’s Winnetou 2 as a way to reimagine Warburg’s traumatic travelogue. There Karl May – his a life spanning just preceding Warburg’s generation – misidentifies the patient’s homeland – the swampy region of New Orleans – into the dry interminable desert of the fantastically wholesome wild west. The colonial subject interfaces with the primitives and pagans – even casting a white German as the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. In Lovecraft’s Cthulhu the expert is also summoned to investigate mysterious pagan rituals occurring in the swamps outside New Orleans. Lovecraft’s racism. Phobia of the other. Warburg, the German Jew, interacting with the other displaced subjects of colonial America.
3/17 Karl May was one Hitler’s favorites. As was Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Although this book, like Warburg, would have to go through a process of rehabilitation, like Warburg, due to the National Socialist of it. The thought of Warburg reading Nietzsche – both mining Greek mythology philology, iconography. Yet the impending sense of growing anti Semitism in Germany contributing to Warburg’s paranoia, and eventually the regime was the cause for his Library’s forced migration.
3/19 The eagle constantly migrates nests amid escapes from incubation.
3/21 Animal motifs throughout Thus Spoke. In particular, not only, the eagle and the snake, but also lightning. The eagle as a
transitionary object away from the serpent. Can the eagle also be Dionysian?
3/22 Peccatum leucocephallus. Wrong Eagle, Sodomized Eagle, Constipated Eagle. Snake and eagle.
3/28 Brother reminds patient of the Myth of Ganymede.
3/28 Again, redirections and exits not as pure escape and repression but towards transference and the metamorphological life.
4/1 Here is Patient imagining Warburg’s travelogue from altered coordinates. Warburg from Hamburg, to New Mexico, to the Sanatorium in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. Our patient, Rhodes, from New Orleans, to Santa Fe, to sanatorium of his studio back in Germany. Of course wrongly identified through a confabulation of texts, libidinal misreadings, and displaced memories, and elusive Guilts.
4/4 Phobia of symbols, Phobia of shocks…Lightning? Administer shocks so as to Liquidate Symbols. Symbols of symbols. Warburg’s symbols or the Hopi symbols. Now metabolized through patient’s own constipated symbolic form.
4/6 Uncle Sam’s lifespan is indeterminate, but past? Is he or she a case of wrongful identification?
4/8 The terror dream, or rather the disembowelment dream you see here of symbols, is first off refracted through a libidinal reach in Warburg’s lecture alluding to an Uncle Sam walking below electric Serpent cables. Not only the trauma of Techno phobia. But the timely terror of impending war and genocide, that will cast away his library.
4/9 Uncle Sam is the source of misunderstandings and delirious redirections. The terror dream and contemporary life.
4/12 But the library is a curiously useful institution of borrowing and returning. Excrement, constipation, poison as life historical process.
4/14 What happened to the black servant Oolanga from Stoker’s Lair of the White Worm? Disappeared in Ken Russell’s. 4/14 Likewise the Kite chapter. Wherein the birds seem to go haywire over the snake lair. Solved by a kite.
4/21 Disavowal of what is regarded as a misguided preoccupation of the imaginary psychic life of a debilitated and institutionalized Art Historian, Warburg sp? Some vacillation between talking about the art historian being institutionalized or the disappearance art historian’s institution, library, being lost. Signs of unhinged dissociative theatre.
5/13 From the end of Cthulhu – “That was the document I read, and now I have placed it in the tin box beside the bas-relief and the papers of Professor Angell. With it shall go this record of mine – this test of my own sanity, wherein is pieced together that which I hope may never be pieced together again.”