FALTEN / ANTI-FALTEN
FALTEN has several meanings in German. It may be the infinitve form of a verb - falten - which translates to fold, to crease, to pleat, to convolve. Then it can be the plural of the noun FALTE refering to various forms of irregular surface textures: facial lines, creases, wrinkles, drapes, or faults of a rock. In times when advertising was still somewhat blunt, the label ANTI-FALTEN used to promote facial creams.
In his text Corpus, Jean-Luc Nancy describes the body as 'a-réalité', an 'a-reality', that is: a being constantly expanding and shrinking, claiming space and presence in relation to others, while remaining unreal to the Self itself. We are entirely contingent on our bodies, yet do not find our Selves fully subsumed nor suspended within our material presence; there is no way to objectify the distance between me and my body, a form informed by so many almost symmetrical doubles.
While experiencing the body's needs and impulses from within, we also perceive our corporeality from the outside, as a spatially confined yet not quite sealed container, an entity defined by its circumstances. Exchanging, repelling, devouring, and enfolding: there is a constant naming and moving going on between the physical Self, the space and the bodies of others. To establish an idea of the Self, we always depend on a counterpart. Hence any image of the body touches on questions of social identity, on the demarcations between myself and the others. Even though these acts of defining are largely internalised, and performed inadvertently, as e.g. Judith Butler argues in her Bodies That Matter, for each individual the practice of distinction remains ubiquitous, and it is never fully completed.
After all, we are animals trying to manage our bodies, desires, and pains as if these were phenomena somewhere outside of ourselves. The series “Einsilbige Tiere”, since 2020, forms part of the FALTEN / ANTI-FALTEN group of work. In German, einsilbig is an ambiguous term, thus the English title is "Taciturn or Monosyllabic Animals". Here, the “beastly” appears as a wildcard for all kinds of uncontrollabilites, whether they seem desirable, or rather threatening.