Nina Beier et Marie Lund

Born in Denmark (DK) in 1975 to Nina Beier and Marie Lund in 1976
Live and work in Berlin (DE) and London (GB)

The Imprint

Verbal intervention and cartel
durée variable
Year of Purchase: 2009

Lack and non-place, constitute the terrain from which Nina Beier’s and Marie Lund’s The Imprint takes root and unfolds its singular cartography. It is not enough that The Imprint never materializes in a definitive and indelible way; it strives to sketch contours that draw directly from the fickle waters of desires, hesitations, errata, and all other meanderings that a path, once traveled, rarely betrays. While the “best of all possible worlds” eclipses the innumerable alterations of the real permanently oscillating at the threshold of uncertainty, the project of the two Danes gives us, on a more modest scale, a glimpse into the circumstances of the variable geometry of an exhibition: for each exhibition that takes shape—as Sol LeWitt already established forty years ago with respect to a work of art—there “exist” a number of versions that don’t. Beyond a pure experience of thought particular to the space of literature, philosophy, or to highly speculative scientific research, The Imprint occupies the interstice of a past conditional: neither “it-has-been” (Roland Barthes on photography—incidentally, another imprint) nor “it-could-be” (Edmond Couchot and the image of synthesis), but “it-might-have-been.” Without evoking the reasons behind such a gap (from the most pragmatic to the most intimate, passing through those implying curatorial decisions: budget, unavailability, refusal, pertinence, censorship, doubts, errors, etc.), what is discarded, what is missing, what is omitted or obscured, come to imperceptibly haunt the place of their absence. Nevertheless, the imprint that is at work here cannot be reduced to a residual trace pervading the exhibition with the spectrum of its possible others: this imprint suggests a correlation with one of the oldest artistic practices. Ephemeral or durable, every imprint testifies to the initial momentum given to the material: just as the foot deforms the clay that it plies, like prehistoric footprints left in the floor of the Foissac caves, the hand brushing the surface of water imprints a fleeting memory of its passage among the undulating waves, as the phrase written in 1973 by Maurizio Nannucci on the waters of the Arno for Scrivere sull’acqua. A distant echo of the divine impression animating the Dantean paradise, The Imprint, for its part, is transmitted from mind to mind. It is semantic material with no written trace, dissociated from memory (it is initially communicated to the gallery staff where it will be reactivated, with neither notes nor subsequent research regarding the subject of the elusive works allowed). Starting with its original motif, a storyline with many focal points takes shape. With a kind of second-hand logic, the imprint instigates its own ceaseless redesign as a function of attention, knowledge, areas of interest, and from the memories of those who cross its path. The slightest intermediary acts as a “modulator,” making, according to Gilbert Simondon, “vary over time the actualization of the potential energy of a source.” From afar, the original material is transformed at the same time as it fades away, vanishes, or is renewed through unexpected palingeneses which inscribe The Imprint with a resonance and a duration, which if not infinite, is at least indefinite.

Arnaud Dejeammes