On Insignificant Matter
A Review of an exhibition held at Defibrillator Gallery of Works by Scott Nadeau
"Men no longer believed, without practical reservations, in heaven and hell and the communion of saints... these supernatural figures, though they were human in origin and in consonance with certain stable human needs, had become wraiths." Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization
"Divine is not beyond good and evil, there where the saint must live. And I, more gentle than a wicked angel, lead her by the hand." Jean Genet, Our Lady of the flowers
When addressing existential latitudes such as the confrontation of significant and Insignificant Matter, our libidinal desires for God/the Antichrist, Material and Faith take the forefront in our aversion of topics such as death, nothingness and insignificance. Scott Nadeau's exhibition Insignificant Matter can be seen as a pastiche of this trinity of God, Material and Faith through the lens of capitalism and western culture.
The show comprised of three walls (with holes), three projections, and three prints. The three walls divided the gallery space and were suspended with steel piping. Three projections illuminated the back of the walls with three, slowly reshaping images: one still of Christ from a Pasolini film; one of "Faith" , a George Michael album cover; and one of Madonna, the sex icon and pop singer. On the opposite side of the wall one can see small fragments of the projected images penetrating through the chiseled holes in the walls. The walls themselves were monumental woodcarvings that acted as representations of the initial projections. The carved and painted images of the walls are completed with the projections filling the gaps of the holes from the rear. Then, hung in the far end of the gallery were three wooblock prints with powdered graphite that stood to represent the completed image of both the chiseled walls and the projection.
The wall in the hole or the projected image penetrating through the wall is reminiscent of a platonic universe that has us chained to a vast network of interrelated representations. Through the spatiotemporal existence of Nadeau's trinity, there exists a universe that praises both material and immaterial, God and the Anti-Christ, Faith, and Insignificant Matter. The projections can be seen as incorporeal as it illuminates without having any real prescence. This is in stark contrast to the walls that stand as concrete masses but lack a significant grounding in the architecture of the gallery space. When, by force of nature, the projected image and the floating walls are combined, the two forces of negation form what can only be seen as significant matter. A disjointed sihouette of Christ, a view of George Michael's cross earring, a fragmented snapshot of Madonna's breast; all three images leave the spectator with the burden of constructing meaning out of the material fragments of our modern messiahs. "But the universe is an often less than accomodating compilation of insignificant matter... matter which has a chaotic agenda of its own, constantly threatening to tear asunder your carefully crafted constructions. You struggle to develop and forge meaning out of a universe which seems to favor nothingness. Somewhere between the dust of insignificance, and the ultra violet rays of meaning, the idea of who you are exists..." (Nadeau, Insignificant Matter). Scott Nadeau has given us a tangible space for the God's of modern times to exist. Like the hole in the wall or the wall in the hole, the expression of nothingness, in its very existence, can only provide us with meaning.
The show was fully conceived with the performance by Marvin Ausby of Etta James' God's Song. In the song, God states that he loves mankind because, despite the travesty that he imposes on mankind, faith still drives man to seek and worship his image. In a "universe which seems to favor nothingness," making art is willing toward a sublime object that lifts everyday, Insignificant Matter, to the highest planes of meaning and significance.