"Garten der Freundschaft" at Galerie Thomas Schulte, 28 April 2017
"Dritte Probe für Nietzsches Geburtstagsparty 2313" at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 25 November 2016
Is it a celebration? An invocation? A birthday party? A performance? None of these things exactly, his title tells us; rather, the event in question is meant as a rehearsal. A rehearsal for a birthday party, to be precise – a party that will take place in the grand distant future.
But really, why we are here is to lose ourselves a little bit – or perhaps a lot – in the hope that we will emerge from the experience somehow altered. And it’s true – in that lost-self state, there is quite a lot to be gained. That we might lose ourselves, and in that loss, wind up mattering finally.
Mattering, as in being/becoming-significant, but also as in: secreting substance. Not just any substance. Ontological goo. Bodies that matter; meaning that splatters.
To go to a place where there is no time.
To define yourself as part of the excess.
Nietzsche – the great anticipator of Modernity, its wonders and its abscesses; the philosopher of ecstasy. One of Nietzsche’s many great assertions was his denial of philosophy as a purely intellectual exercise; philosophy, for Nietzsche, must simultaneously be pursued, enacted, realized as a lived experience. In other words, philosophy is an embodied pursuit.
The body can’t simply be cut off, negated, cast away; this refusal which ennobles the body effectively positions it at the center of the action. It means, then, that we have to learn how to think not only with the body, but through the body.
To let the body matter again – in the way, perhaps, it was always meant to. Judgment suspended: make your assumption all over me; let’s see if it will leave a stain.
Intimacy as a disordering device: the more we love, after all, the more we lose ourselves in the other. It is not just a mere risk of losing oneself: the loss is, at best, partial, but always risks reaching a totalizing state.
(excerpt from: Travis Jeppesen, Learning to Matter, in: Third Rehearsal for Nietzsches Birthday Party 2313 / SKITS. 13 Exhibitions in 9 Rooms, ed. by Hendrik Bündge, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden / Michael Müller, Berlin 2016, p.48–51)