– Summer 2010

Of ‘World Lines’ and Other Forgotten Voices

Doris Von Drathen

Leonor Antunes, original is full of doubts, 2008. Installation view, Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine. Courtesy the artist

Leonor Antunes, original is full of doubts, 2008. Installation view, Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine. Courtesy the artist

Among the absurdities of language, which we use against better judgement to describe the world as we experience it, is the substitution of infinity for what is immeasurable. Most people, for instance, articulate their perception of the horizon in terms that pretend to offer the possibility not simply of envisaging space- and timelessness, but even of physically observing it. Yet the average distance between observer and horizon is rarely ever more than thirty kilometres - the limit of our range of vision. So the habit of projecting our narrow frame of perception onto the world, in the presumption that the dimensions of existence are equal to the limited scope of our perception, induces us to imagine infinity at relatively close proximity.

As if, of its own accord, the act of measuring were a way of ascertaining the world, just as writing and drawing are, Leonor Antunes has developed a body of work in the space between that which is measurable and that which is not. It visualises the discrepancies between the existing and the calculated world, takes the phenomenon of measuring and its possibilities to absurd limits and, on the tip of a yardstick, catapults us out of reality.

Fragile shapes are suspended from the ceiling, shimmering and swaying. Sections of three- millimetre brass wire, flattened by hand into straight lines and bent at their ends into hooks and loops, trace out a system of triangles in mid-air. Leonor Antunes has produced five of these geometric sculptures, as fine as spatial drawings, laying each of them into one of her 'construction kits'. These kits are each named modo de usar (how to use, 2003-ongoing), as each

  1. The meridian is the imaginary longitudinal arc over the earth's surface joining the North Pole to the South Pole.

  2. Immanuel Kant, 'Realverknüpfungen', from unpublished notes, cited in the edition of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, N 4174.

  3. Jorge Luis Borges, 'La muerte y la brujula', Ficciones, Madrid: Alianza Editorial, S.A., 1971, p.162; in English, 'Death and the Compass', Collected Fictions (trans. Andrew Hurley), Harmondsworth: Penguin/Viking, 1998, p.156.

  4. Eileen Gray, 'From Eclecticism to Doubt', in Caroline Constant (ed.), Eileen Gray, London: Phaidon Press, 2000, pp.238-45.

  5. Built in 1928 for Herman Teirlinck, an important Belgian writer, and Karel Maes in Saint-Idesbald.

  6. Thomas Levenson, Einstein in Berlin, New York: Bantam/Random House, 2004, p.93; also see Hermann Minkowski, Raum und Zeit, Leipzig: G.B. Teubner, 1909.