Anders Krisár: Camera Lucida | Corpus

By Arnaud Gespacher

This is touching. An exhausted phrase, perhaps, though to be touched is what we want, possibly more than ever. But what does it mean to be touched? At the very least, along the porous lines of the seen, felt, and heard, to be touched is to encounter the trace of an Other, either face-to-face or along the course of centuries. When registered, being touched can range from the merely amusing to the opening of worlds you didn’t know existed or were inhabitable. The body of this Other — hands, mind, eyes, and ears — converges with your own through their work (as it does now in reading me, however removed and mediated we are from each other).

Can we have or make sense without this touching, without our bodies? This is a central question in Jean-Luc Nancy’s prodigious writing on the body in Corpus (2006) — or more properly, not on the body, but to and from the body and the ex-scription that both body and writing imply: “Bodies, for good or ill, are touching each other upon this page, or more precisely, the page itself is a touching (of my hand while it writes, and your hands while they hold the book). This touch is infinitely indirect, deferred — machines, vehicles, photocopies, eyes, still other hands are all interposed — but it continues as a slight, resistant, fine texture, the infinitesimal dust of a contact, everywhere interrupted and pursued.”[1]

Bodies of work touch each other endlessly. We would have no history or sharing of histories otherwise. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a brush or superficial affinity. Other times there’s a deep involvement, which may or may not have been there from the start, and moreover, may take years of work and the work of years to uncover (recalling Jacques Derrida, the “dissimulation of the woven texture can in any case take centuries to undo its web”[2]). All this to say, as Nancy does, that bodies and the proliferation of touching have generated the “whole corpus of a General Encyclopedia of Western Sciences, Arts, and Ideas.” [3] When laying a hand on this body, a corpus that surely extends beyond the West, it’s not the body of a specimen, a patient etherized upon a table,[4] but an inoperative one both living and dead, self and other, and above all, moving forward and backward, constantly coming together and pulling apart, and never seen or felt in totality. Within the finitude of our corpus, there are no out-of-body experiences.

But there’s touching and then there’s touching — it’s one thing to communicate through your traces but it’s another to make others laugh, cry, or tremble by way of these traces. There are any number of artists, writers, composers, who touch us. There are far fewer who touch us touchingly. They have the means to say something so convincingly — visually and audibly, in words or otherwise — that the touch of their trace is touching. The fact that the literal sense of touching contaminates the figurative may already say everything — how else to describe the emotive-aesthetic entanglements betrayed by tears, goose bumps, tinglings up the spine, pits in the stomach, and all the rest?

What happens then — as is the case with the art of Anders Krisár — when a body of work is itself about touching in all its contaminated senses?

A mother’s touch. A common idiom, one behind any number of bodies of work. In Krisár’s output-to-date, both the photographic and sculptural, a mother’s touch is apparent. This should not be confused with appearing; rarely is the artist’s mother clearly in focus, if seen at all. There are the seeming death-mask bronze or aluminum casts of her face hanging on a wall; the images of her solitary, standing figure obscured by the mist of “flesh clouds” generated by long exposures and the streaking bodies of her sons; and there is her hidden presence behind a tree in an otherwise unpopulated photographic landscape. She always seems to be both there and absent, both exposed and concealed, in ways that poetically attest to an (auto)biography and a history of family illness, which much like the artist and his body (of work), is never simply reducible to this history.

Let’s begin then with the series Hiding the Hidden (2003). Krisár took some two thousand digital photographs of different parks around Stockholm, from which he chose two different ones as his settings for the series. Out of this process came a triptych of large-format photographs, and a fourth (the one set in fall) that has yet to be shown alongside the others. In each case, his mother is in the photograph, yet completely unseen, hidden somewhere in the landscape. Why this insistence on concealing? Why the doubled concealment entailed by the title, which doesn’t multiply to a mathematical double-negative of revelation? (Or does it?) Does it matter whether or not the viewer knows where the figure hides? Would it really be a matter of knowing, since we could only take him or her at their word? We know she asked her son, puzzled, “Why am I hiding in the picture since no one is going to see me?” But where was she looking and what was her expression, now forever locked and lost in photographic space?

However steeped in aporia these questions may be, or possibly because of these aporias, a return to Roland Barthes’s La chambre claire (Camera Lucida, 1980), that celebrated meditation on photography and mothers, will be of help. Geoffrey Batchen writes about Barthes’s decision to ground thinking about photography in the body: “[Barthes] decides that analytical methods derived from sociology, semiology, and psychoanalysis are inadequate to this task and that he will instead take himself and especially his own bodily responses to certain images as the measure of photographic knowledge.” [5] The philosopher is at pains to come to terms with the indexical tracing of past bodies with his own: “A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze: light, though impalpable, is here a carnal medium, a skin I share with anyone who has been photographed.”[6] This is the photographic corpus, that “slight, resistant, fine texture, the infinitesimal dust of a contact” that Nancy describes as being continually at work.

Barthes wrote Camera Lucida while mourning the death of his mother, and in many ways his text is a theoretical displacement of a mother’s touch. The relation between camera and photograph is not unlike that of mother and child — in neither case are returns home possible, yet this very impossibility is one of the few nonarbitrary relationships we have in life.[7] As such, Barthes’s semiological work may in fact be operative here, albeit in the negative, since unlike the linguistic arbitrariness of the sign, the body of the child is a singular and nonarbitrary referent of the mother’s body (not “child” the word, nor “body,” but the body that has nothing to do with signification, something that Nancy tries to come to terms with in his writing, as does Krisár in a more intuitive way through his work). “Every photograph is a certificate of presence.”[8] That once was there, securely — possibly our only transcendental knowledge, possibly even the origin of all others.

The security of photographic connection can be cut loose today by pure digital fabrication, a deeper trauma than we might admit, as we are adrift in a circulation of images that cannot even properly be called orphaned (perhaps this is why Krisár never prints in digital, always developing chromogenic prints straight from the negatives). Nevertheless, both mothers and indexical photographs continue to impress upon each other: a primal touch without divorce, our first sonorous experiences of sound and speech, our first touch we cannot take back. Unlike photographs, however, our bodies never stop developing. We have no solutions for fixing ourselves, since living means to be continually exposed — and an overexposed being, especially in the face of a parent, can sometimes become damaged, something Krisár’s work often alludes to in dramatic fashion.

Although every photograph attests to a presence, this presence is at the same time an absence. What is before our eyes in a photograph is both there and no longer there all at once. This is the maddening tense of photography. Eduardo Cadava and Paola Cortés-Rocca describe this living-deadness of photographs as a transferential circuit with the continuing experience of Barthes’s mother beyond her death: “Indeed, we could even say that, within the logic of [Camera Lucida], it is his mother’s survival, her living on, even after her death, that indicates that things pass, that they change and transform, and, minimally, because this survival asks us to think not of the impossibility of a return to life but of the impossibility of dying, not life or death, but life and death, or perhaps, even more precisely, ‘life death.’ ”[9]

This keeping afloat of a past-present-presence, which mourning and photography both share, is predicated on a subjective field that blurs the boundary between subject and object, viewer and image, and the living and the dead (Barthes’s famous term for this: punctum). This is why Cadava-Rocca and Cortés can claim that Barthes questions the “Holy Trinity” of photography — subject, image, reference[10]— and that what stands before a photographic apparatus does “not ‘exist’ before the camera’s click.” [11] This collapse of subject and object, inside and outside, is not unlike that supreme form of identification — being in love — and the authors claim that Camera Lucida is essentially “a text on love and eroticism.”[12]

This identification transforms all parties involved: “The possibility of this transformation of the one into the other is confirmed in an extra-ordinary moment in which Barthes claims, in an extreme temporal reversal, to have given birth to his mother, and therefore to have become a mother himself.”[13] If the camera, like the mother, gives birth to an image, the mother can, in turn, be reborn through the son’s capacity as image creator. This relationship entails yet another imminent and catastrophic loss when the photograph pierces the viewer by revealing a truth that can only exist for him or her (as we know the famous Winter Garden Photograph of Barthes’s mother did for him). The first death is the person mourned; the second is the mourner, whose passing kills the first a second time. Everyone carries this potential of a pure, future erasure from history inside herself, which no record can maintain or accurately convey to others (but we try, we make work, we write).

Yes, the Winter Garden Photograph could only exist for Barthes in the finitude of his perceiving mind, a melancholic and loving rapport with a photograph-mother-child that ended at the moment he died: “Hence the Winter Garden Photograph, however pale, is for me the treasury of rays which emanated from my mother as a child, from her hair, her skin, her dress, her gaze, on that day.”[14] More infinitesimal dust of a contact, here with the corpus of a cherished love, one made of ash and light.

On the day of the Winter Garden Photograph, Barthes’s mother was five. After looking through old family photographs, this was the only one that struck him with the truth of her being: “I studied the little girl and at last rediscovered my mother.”[15]What Barthes finds in this photograph as in no other is his mother’s gentleness — a kindness that beams through despite the imperfections of a troubled family history.[16] It is a truth for him only, his filial punctum, the “impossible science of a unique being,”[17] which is precisely why the photograph is never reproduced anywhere in the text. Barthes maintains that for anyone else but him it could only be just another indifferent and ordinary image.[18] It is only natural to then say that Barthes also conceals what can never be revealed in the first place — that he, like Krisár, is also hiding the hidden.

Barthes the philosopher does this textually and through omission. Krisár the artist does this visually, by photographing the present absence of an absent presence. It is as if he hides the possibility of a maternal punctum, which could only pierce him in its own particular way. Maybe at a certain level, Krisár was aware that the unconditional appearance of his mother before the camera would lead to an image he could never recognize as truly her. There may be more truth in her absence. But what if this personification of punctum as hidden potential has a history of mental illness? Are these a series of portraits of a mother who wasn’t always there? This might come across as dangerously trite, or as weepy biographical detail — yet what these words point to so feebly is a potent and formative reality (past, present, and future) that can never be accounted for in its totality of affects/effects, in either mind or object. This inability to be accounted for is true as well for Krisár’s personal history. But most especially, it is true for the spectators and indifferent consumers (who are even more in the dark) who engage his work in disparate ways. One such engagement might be to understand that everyone embodies (and is embodied by) this sort of foundational reality, to which we only have limited access, to one degree or another. Is this not the very basis for psychoanalysis? Is it not one principle of the unconscious to hide the hidden from view by having material return in dissimulated forms, like trees for mothers?

More poetically still: Is there a cohabitational conflict between the maternal conventions of the nurturing landscape and the specificity of this one mother in particular? One of Krisár’s earliest memories of a painting from childhood is René Magritte’s late work Le blanc-seing (The Blank Signature, 1965), which has a similarly impossible cohabitation between figure and forest. The woman on horseback is consumed and hidden by the forest in two ways: she is engulfed and erased by the voids between the trees, while also being hollowed out and dematerialized where she does appear, as a flattened image pasted into the surreality of the trees themselves. Did this painting remain stored behind Krisár’s eyelids all this time, only to reappear years later in a photographic series?

Almost everything in the image — even the materiality of the image itself, being a photograph — can regenerate, be reprinted or replanted, and can potentially be renewed by a following spring, all aside from what’s hidden. After all, the series tracks into fall and impending winter in allegorical simplicity. This is, in part, the truth tinged with sadness evoked by Hiding the Hidden. It is also the truth that haunts both the series and Camera Lucida: a pure, future erasure from history that no record can maintain or accurately convey, which will always leave something hidden without the possibility of returns.

The very first shot of Arnaud Desplechin’s film Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale, 2008) is of an old photograph with a family album with its crenellated edges, resting against a row of worn books on a mantel within a family home. It shows another empty forest park with a path leading to woods. This may simply be one of those superficial affinities, though in the context of Krisár’s sculptural work, deeper involvements may be lurking. (Does Tolstoy’s truism about unhappy families bear repeating?) The film portrays a family with strained relationships reuniting over the news of the mother’s bone cancer. As the story unfolds, it turns out the person best suited to save the mother is her eldest son, her least favorite and the black sheep of the family, banished years before by the sister for reasons that never come to light (perhaps the first shot, like Hiding the Hidden, thematizes this family secret). As it happens, the least compatible pair in life is the most compatible at the cellular level. The operation, however, is a risky one and chances are that the mother’s body will not take well to her son’s marrow in the often very real medical complication of Graft-versus-host disease (gvhd). Performing the Derridian contaminations involved in hospitality, host, and hostility, gvhd sets in when transplanted marrow recognizes its host’s cells as foreign bodies deserving of immunological attack. As such, a war ensues from inside between an overprotective savior and a savee who gets consumed in the very act of being saved.

In a violent and incisive way, Krisár’s Bomb Suit (2006–07) — an Explosive Ordnance Device (eod) bomb suit that the artist detonated with explosives in a remote Swedish forest from inside the suit — alludes to the helplessness of protecting ourselves from what’s already gotten in, which can be anything from the traumas of psychic projection, transference, displacement, and the whole gamut of emotional violence to which we’re suscepted from childhood onward, to the psychosomatic disturbances at cerebral levels: lesions, missing serotonin, autoimmune disease, and the whole lineup of monstrous intruders that do their damage from the insides of our bodies. Again, the mother might be here, but she’s not the key, nor the only one.

Like Camera Lucida, like the impossible returns of image to camera or son to mother, the danger of gvhd involves the son consuming the mother and perversely giving birth to her, as image, as bodily new cells. It would be difficult to call this touching. As with all medical operations that tear into the body, splitting open and penetrating it with steely implements, tubing, medication, and fluids, there is an overwhelmingly violent contact that runs counter to our deep desire for the integrity of skin and what it covers so delicately. Hence the visceral repulsion, which can both attract and fascinate, at the sight of medical incursions in the body, which if left unsutured would kill it. It is a violence that touches us to the core, at the nerve endings that seem to cry for our own bodily integrity at the sight of the loss of another’s. This is why Nancy says that touching never entails penetration: “A body only ever ‘penetrates’ the opening of another body when killing it (which is why the sexual lexicon is completely meager, a lexicon of nothing less than murder and death …). But a body ‘in’ a body, ego ‘in’ ego, doesn’t ‘open’ anything: it is at the very opening that the body already is, infinitely, and more than originally so; this crossing takes place right here, without penetration, this melee occurs without mingling.”[19]

This is also why “body” or “bodies” as signs — naked or in uniform, on television, of a race, gender, or class — cause us to miss the very real bodies that touch, feel, and scream with their own nerve endings that know nothing of signification. As such, one of the many stakes involved in Nancy’s Corpus is an ethics of skin — and Nancy’s writing and Krisár’s work touch each other in so many ways that I couldn’t possibly hope to express them in the starkness of these few pages, though it’s all there, waiting for anyone willing to hold them together in all their complexity.

Krisár’s sculptural work understands this distinction between touching and penetration, and often leaves us at the liminal space between the two. How else to approach the spotless torso of an adolescent male, perfect aside from the imprints of adult hands? As prehistoric palm prints on the wall of a cave, pointing to representation and knowledge? As the impending marks of adulthood? The maddening stains of obsessive compulsion that never leave the sufferer satisfied, forever pressing the (t)issue? The Birth of Us (boy) (2006–07) allows for all of these possibilities and no doubt more in its brute and delicate existence. In formal terms that only sculpture can provide, here touching and penetrating (“melee” and “mingling,” pressing and puncturing) all seem to coexist impossibly on the boy’s body. It is as if the touch is too forceful, forever at risk of crossing over into the violence of penetration, a line loving touches never cross: “Thus [like] bodies of lovers: they do not give themselves over to transubstantiation, they touch one another, they renew one another’s spacing forever, they displace themselves, they address themselves (to) one another.”[20] Renewing another’s spacing is exactly what force so often precludes, from handprints or otherwise.

What else is a handprint but a sign? A touch would leave no mark, since it only wants the body and its renewed spacing. Signs, marks, and indices always point to something else — they always penetrate toward another scene of signification, making us lose touch with the page and the body. The Birth of Us (boy) manifests this very tension between body and sign, between touching and penetration, and between ex-scription and inscription. Once we see the signs, we miss the body; but once we see the body, we can’t help but feel the violence of the signs that mark it. Krisár’s work constantly thematizes this contamination. Nevertheless, it is not that we are dealing with meaning and nonmeaning, or that the body is beyond or underneath meaning. One of the more difficult thoughts in Nancy’s Corpus is the understanding that the body demands “other categories of force and thought,” which make “room for the fact that the essence of existence is to be without any essence. That’s why the ontology of the body is ontology itself: being is in no way prior or subjacent to the phenomenon here. The body is the being of existence.”[21] Stranger still, this ontology that is body, this asignifying body that is neither signifier nor signified, which knows nothing about knowing in the usual sense of language, which is neither powerful nor impotent, which is both infinitely near to us and utterly inaccessible all at once, is nothing other than writing itself. Like our bodies, writing exposes, ex-scribes, and sends off sense by touching: “In all writing a body is the letter, yet never the letter, or else, more remotely, more deconstructed than any literality, it’s a ‘letricity’ no longer meant to be read. What in a writing, and properly so, is not to be read — that’s what a body is.”[22] Nancy is ready to admit that these impossible thoughts can send us into psychosis, since we are doomed to fail when trying to speak about this asignifying body, yet that’s all we can ever do.[23] If he’s right, aren’t we always psychotic in relation to our bodies — to the letter?

Like the unresolved tension of The Birth of Us (boy), Krisár’s M (2008–10) toggles endlessly between body and signification. The body as letricity no longer meant to be read — might there be a more fitting description for M? Here we have the same boy’s body (Krisár’s preferred model and his wife’s nephew, named Johan) split apart and made double. Whole as the letter M, yet split as a body, he is at once complete and missing his other half. The implications of this are crucial: as soon as we read “M” we lose sight of the body and it sends us toward totality. In a Lacanian mode, this is the force of the letter, of signification, of the symbolic. The letter M may not be an arbitrary choice or mere sculptural convenience: Manlig, Man, Mensch, Male — these are the only marks of boyhood on a sexless body, as if the only essential quality of gender (from biological to cultural registers) — is a matter of language. It would then not be essential at all, or it would make manifest that the essence of existence is to be without any essence (i.e., that the body exists alongside forms of signification that forever fail to encompass it, and even though bodies are not words or letters, they are writing, and we do embody, expose, and are exposed by them). It’s only when we read the body as a letricity-no-longer-meant-to-be-read, when we ignore the signifying power of M, that we see the split, not only of the boy’s body, but between body and sign.

Once split, it is only through touching, with palms pressed and fingers interlaced, that the boy’s body gets a hold of itself. In sheer physicality, this self-touching is near impossible (and wholly impossible if stipulating the outstretched arms of M). In the process of casting the work, Krisár had to introduce a contamination, one that complicates a split identity ever further. This boy is not only both one and two, but also three (or two a second time), for to achieve this cast of self-touching another boy’s hand was needed (a friend of Johan’s). So some of these fingers are not Johan’s at all, and thus he only gets a hold of himself with the help of another (there is a complex set of traces and history of touches in this work, from artist to model, artist to sculpture, model to cast, and friend to model). This inability to cast a figure alone with itself performs the conceptual impossibility of being absolutely alone, an impossibility that has deep ethical and political import vis-à-vis community: “The absolute must be the absolute of its own absoluteness, or not be at all. In other words: to be absolutely alone, it is not enough that I be so; I must also be alone being alone — and this of course is contradictory.”[24] This figure that is split in at least more than one way — from himself and from the other who makes his self-relation possible in the first place — subtly critiques pure individuality at the broadest level: the self is forever indebted to the Other (be it via Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics of the face-to-face, Jean-Paul Sartre’s critique of solipsism through the shame-inducing gaze of the Other, Jacques Lacan’s mirror stage, Derrida’s deconstruction of pure presence in all its forms, or Nancy’s notion of community as founded on the realization of the Other’s death. French thought in the twentieth century is filled with this split between self and other).

Johan’s eyes are closed — but what would it mean for him to see himself? Or hear, smell, or speak to his other half? In all cases, the sense organs doing the sensing are split (one nostril, one eye, and one ear mirroring itself on either side, with only the mouth presumably torn apart from use, at least from speech). Nevertheless, they correlate to a consciousness that itself cannot be split to such an absolute degree. We know that generally the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. This means that were the brain to be split in two, none of these senses could function, or they would amount to nerve endings that fire without receivership or destination. Then would Johan even be there to call himself seeing, hearing, smelling, or touching? If the boy somehow opened his eyes to see his other half hanging on the wall, each eye would be seeing the side of the body that does that very seeing in question — an impossible thought. Presumably this would hold for smell and hearing, but what of the hands? If these hands could hold each other in such a way, without help from a friend, what would the touch feel like? Would one side feel itself being touched by the other without itself feeling itself touching back? It can happen that we wake in the middle of the night to a limb that remains asleep, which affords us some frighteningly uncanny moments of touching ourselves without that part feeling it, as if an arm or a leg is already cadaverous (though properly speaking, this reverses the roles of the toucher and touched, even though in both scenarios they are one and the same). No doubt these thoughts on touching are as impossible as those on sight, and the hypothetical sensory cut off that M poses is impossibly complete.

On the other hand, might it happen that Johan’s brain could remap itself unilaterally? Referring to Catherine Malabou’s work in philosophy and neuroscience,[25] would the brain’s plasticity allow it to adapt to a new form of functioning and sensory correlation with the body? Even so, would this not then result in two brains that control two disparate and halved bodies? Would we not then be dealing with two minds that betray the impossibility of a pure splitting of consciousness, which unlike M’s split body, we can’t even visualize hypothetically? This is not to say there are no maladies where minds are severely split or multiplied, on the contrary (and beyond the relational necessities of self and other, it is even difficult to think of a consciousness that is not split or multiple to some medico-socially acceptable degree). It is to say, however, that they are never split or multiplied in discrete purity, since it is the continued communication and contamination between voices, personalities, or moods, the passing over from one to the other, from one unpredictable moment to the next, in one person, in one body, which is so properly traumatic.

Krisár’s work deals with these sort of splittings in a number of ways. We might return to Bomb Suit, which was physically split open by a volatile otherness from within. Or, recalling Hiding the Hidden, there is a seasonal sequence moving from one tree to two, to one as two, and finally to emptiness or background (or maybe what amounts to a safe distance). In Krisár’s installation series Bronze/Wax #1 (2005–06) and Bronze/Wax #2 (2006–08), this theme of safe distances is operative. Bronze/Wax #1 involves an autocast of the artist’s face in beeswax, along with his mother’s face cast in bronze, both with eyes closed serenely. It should be stressed that these closed eyes are not mere by-products of the practical limitations of casting; they are meaningful in their own right. In these works, there will be damage, from one face to another, but the source is likely unconscious, and stranger still for a pair so close, the damages may be blind, or even anonymous.

Bronze/Wax #1 can only be installed once. The mother’s bronze face is connected to an electrical source, which when turned on, emits a high level of heat conducted across and through her metallic features. Affixed to the corner of the gallery wall, Krisár’s wax face is hung opposite hers in such proximity that during the course of the exhibition her heat source gradually wears away at the right side of his face. The end result is the hollowing out of the upper-right portion of his waxen face and the creation of residual strips of formless beeswax gathered on the gallery floor, a demonstration that once again thematizes the conflict between touch and penetration (melee and mingling, pressing and puncturing).

With the relational process of Bronze/Wax #1 complete, Krisár revisited the installation to revise the relations for Bronze/Wax #2 two years later.[26] Keeping the original mother-son pair to one side of the gallery, Krisár then included a second electrical bronze face, this time a cast of his maimed features from two years before, which hovered on the opposite wall at a safe distance from its point of origin. Still blind (and like a photograph, indexically joined to a past event), Krisár’s now bronze face is a hardening of a once fragile and permeable ­substance, a physical remove from a past that founded it, and a source of force of its own (for better or for worse), since he, too, can now emit heat. The poetry involved is a visceral literalization of psychic projection and emotional transference — one with the damage already done, which results in another imbued with the perpetual potential of similarly fraught relations with others.

All is not damage, however. Nor do the processes involved in Bronze/Wax #1 and #2 go unlearned: two more years later, there came Jeanette (2010). Krisár formed a beeswax cast of his wife’s face with a renewed fragility and permeability, exhibited not on the wall, but supine with her equally blind and serene expression horizontal to the ceiling. As wax, she is susceptible to deformation, and thus, when installed, kept at a safe distance from Bronze/Wax #1 and #2. This gesture recalls, one last time, Nancy’s equally poetic writing on touching and the body, which might befit the whole of Krisár’s work to date, from landscapes to torsos to selves to others: “Love is the touch of the open.”[27]

[1] Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus, trans. Richard A. Rand (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 51.

[2] Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 63. [3] Nancy, Corpus, 5.

[4] T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915).

[5] Geoffrey Batchen, “Palinode: An Introduction to Photography Degree Zero,” in Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes’s “Camera Lucida”, ed. Batchen (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009), 12. [6] Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981), 81. [7] Although they don’t lend themselves to the same analogy, the same could be said of fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, nephews, grandparents, and so on. But where would it end? Would it not point to the impossibility of arbitrary relationships in the first place? Would it not point to the différance of our corpus and the impossibility of the pure individual? [8] Barthes, Camera Lucida, 87.

[9] Eduardo Cadava and Paola Cortés-Rocca, “Notes on Love and Photography,” in Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes’s “Camera Lucida”, 107.

[10] Ibid., 109.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., 107.

[13] Ibid., 125.

[14] Barthes, Camera Lucida, 82.

[15] Ibid., 69.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., 71.

[18] Ibid., 71 and 73.

[19] Nancy, Corpus, 29.

[20] Ibid., 19.

[21] Ibid., 13 and 15.

[22] Ibid., 87.

[23] Ibid., 57.

[24] Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor, trans. Connor, Lisa Garbus, Michael Holland, and Simona Sawhney (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 4.

[25] Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain?, trans. Sebastian Rand (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).

[26] This ellipsis of two years, what does it mean for the work? What did this pocket of time entail, resolve, or track through the artist’s life? It is an auratic span of time that points to a metarelational process (between son and mother, and artist and work) that no intention and no work could possibly account for in full. The same is true of the two years between Bronze/Wax #2 (2006–08) and Jeanette (2010), with their proliferating metarelations of son and mother to wife and work.

[27] Nancy, Corpus, 29.

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