Keats once wrote, “The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing—to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.” Dwelling in the recent works of Talia Chetrit, Keats’ lyric indecision came to mind somewhat paradoxically, given, as it were, that much of the artist’s process stems from a finely-tuned practice of decision-making. Sampling from her personal photographic archive, images that have spanned from her teens through to this year, Chetrit’s process blends fictions from anachronisms.
Chetrit’s oeuvre is characterized by the overflow of life, its surplus: of emotions, experiences, a bright sexuality, boredom, babies, garments. Things in her images tend to over-signify, like the artist’s mother in Telfar, or shiny black boots pointing to domestic kinks: detours. The body’s shyest territories are exposed in layers of transparencies, like PVC pants, and film strips, only to hit resistance. It forecloses—if not only to remind that the image is just a ghost, an apparition of expectant memory and the effects of pure presence. A negative capability, to continue on the Keatsian thread: Chetrit deals in conundrums of perception and recognition. Consecutive reasoning does not help enter these works. Think instead of what spills over, splits seams, breaks apart. It’s impossible to ‘know’ an inner life.