Vittorio Santoro
Sketch for Goodbye Darkness IV, Elephants Don’t Play Chess, 2011

Graphite on paper
19,3 × 26,8 cm

Goodbye Darkness IV, Elephants Don’t Play Chess (a loose conversation on some aspects of BWV 1001–1006 with Kerwin Rolland) is (…) based around words, although they have been transposed into another medium. (…) Two electrical bulbs light up at varying intensities and intervals, each of them silently mirroring the modulation of a different prerecorded spoken text containing repetitions and variations. The flickering bulbs illustrate the compositional principles–such as repetition, variation, and the combination of different voices or parts–used by Bach to create the effect of polyphony. I am constantly surprised at the emotion that Bach’s music elicits, despite its technical rigor. There is a similar duality in the flickering lights, which convey both the text and its rhythm, and might help the viewer to understand how logic can be “sensual.” Dualities such as these can demonstrate how much our apprehension of the real is dependent on our bridging the interstitial spaces between thought, emotion, text, and image.

Interview of the artist by Rahma Khazam: “Vittorio Santoro discusses his exhibition at Campagne Première”, Artforum, August 31, 2011.