“What we don’t see, doesn’t exist”Elfriede Jelinek
The obvious, which we deny or ignore, shows us the real. In daily life, we humans tend, consciously or accidentally, to overlook, to repress or to block out inconvenient things from the world around us. We humans are good at using various methods and strategies to defamiliarise reality and assert normality even in the face of a threatening situation. It often proves easier to choose the path of silence or to take shelter in a language devoid of meaning in order to evade and not bring to consciousness a reality with which we do not want to confront.
A protective everyday experience is that unspoken truths are sometimes better left hidden. It seems easier to look away or to remain silent and thus to declare some things non-existent. We don’t always turn over every stone. We prefer not to be aware. Everyone knows the phenomenon of the “elephant in the room”. We all notice the “elephant”, but then we pretend not to see it. “The elephant” that nobody talks about is a very contradictory figure, because the “elephant” has mass, is a big, present-looking
figure, but at the same time it doesn’t really seem to be there. We know we should and yet we can’t talk about it. It, the “elephant”, emerges and the moment it is fully there, it disappears.
But why do we pretend to be blind or deaf or indifferent? Why do we swallow so many obvious things? Why do we turn our gaze away from things that characterise the reality of our lives? Do we not compromise with the lie by looking away and remaining silent? But who decides what is truth and what is a lie? Who has a right to know them? Do not truth and lies appear in one corner as the opposite of what sounds in another corner like a foreign language of which one does not understand a word?
Through a cross-space visual and audio installation, the exhibition swallowed sentences focuses on the relationship between visibility and invisibility, between speaking and concealment, between presence and absence. It leads the viewer into a labyrinth of the obvious, the repressed and the misunderstood, to finally confront him with the question: Why don’t we listen to the “elephants”?