Artivism

‘GENESIS-Degenesis’ by MICHEL PLATNIC

Image/ film still from multimedia work ‘Genesis=deGenesis’, courtesy of Michel Platnic

Image/ film still from multimedia work ‘Genesis=deGenesis’, courtesy of Michel Platnic

Statement from THE ARTIST:

“I made use of the biblical creation narrative due to its fundamental status in, at least, the Western civilization. I extricated from it the characteristic terminology that shapes our more and more global understanding of the world and the constructs of our society, and opposeD to it images from the natural world. The individual is facing the world or authority, and is not aware of his power and his responsibility. He is a prisoner of a language and a culture that conceptualize a priori his ways of observing and understanding the world, that rigidify certain possibilities and exclude others. He is condemned to a fragmentary, culture-dependent understanding of the world, only ever seeing bits of the bigger picture. He is unable to make use of all of the accumulated knowledge in the world - knowledge that once bore the promise of freedom of thought. Knowledge may create blindspots that can contain the potential for destruction.”

Michel Platnic created ‘Genesis-DeGenesis’, a “work that draws inspiration from the narrative of the creation of the world, as recounted in the Book of Genesis. Through pictorial, sculptural, theatrical and cinematographic means, Platnic creates a sort of one-man-show where he “recreates” the act of creation. But the artist interprets this story in two parallel directions: from beginning to end, and conversely from end to beginning. One screen shows the creation narrative as we know it, whereas the other screen displays the same narrative, yet inversed. Dependence and interdependence splice the two stories that take place in parallel on a sort of Möbius strip with no beginning or end. The chronological narrative recounts the creation of nature followed by man’s use of it, which ends in destruction. The inversed narrative seemingly saves nature from destruction, yet as it draws nearer to its end (i.e. the beginning), the world gradually empties. Before us are two video screens that tell seemingly opposite stories, yet both end in the same tone, which may be interpreted either as a despondent end or as the possibility for a new, hopeful beginning.”


“The two narrative inversions that Platnic proposes are linear yet looped so as to erase any beginning or end. The beginning of one story is the end of the other, and vice versa. The act of creation according to Platnic begins with the expulsion of darkness and the appearance of the creating god (portrayed by the artist himself) in an empty room, whose panes are all painted sky blue, with no distinction drawn between wall, floor and ceiling. Thereupon the god creates his world and populates the empty space through the painting of flora and fauna. The artist draws a parallel between the biblical god’s speech and the act of painting: God of Genesis creates through the Verb, by speech, whereas Platnic’s god creates using paint and a brush.

The visual mechanism underlying the work is based upon the shortening and the distillation of matter, space and time, through the use of different media, symbols and gestures borrowed from the world of magic. The grand and wonderful acts of the biblical creation story – as large as the universe itself – are translated here to an intimate scale, to images both near and familiar: The world is the familial space, the celestial globes are lamps, the flora are represented by house plants, the fauna by a cat and a bird; it is the creation of the world and its destruction in a nutshell. The two inversed narratives stand side by side as though they were two texts on a page that recount and interpret one another, and vice versa: One expands, the other reduces; one affirms, the other negates; one opens possibilities, the other shuts them out.”

Text by Ilan Wizgan from the artist’s catalogue

Watch the full version of ‘Genesis-deGenesis’ the film: