FROM BUBBLES TO FOAM
“For as long as the bubble lasted, its creator was beside himself,as if its consistency was dependent on his undivided attention, like an entity of its own floating alongside it.”1
Peter Sloterdijk begins his theory of spheres by describing a print from the 19th Century2. In it, a boy blows soap bubbles and follows them with his gaze, entirely absorbed, as they float into the void. The relationship between the creator and his passing creation is complex: the boy and his bubbles, and how he is beside himself accompanying them on their journey until, in the end, they burst. In other words, “while the bubbles move in the air, their creator is truly beside himself – alongside and in the bubbles.”3
A bubble is an encased surface yet susceptible to bursting at any time, opening up to the outside world and, above all, susceptible to encountering other bubbles on its path, and to forming temporary and ephemeral communities, to shaping into foam. In a spontaneous and unstoppable manner, like the foam of the sea on a wave, composed of tiny bubbles seeking each other out, finding one another and huddling together for an instant to then disperse once again. This makes it possible to form communities or, simply, disappear into the vastness of the sea.
The collective exhibition “Black Bubbles” is a good example of these spontaneous condensations of different bubbles, a temporary community formed in an exhibition room, which will later disperse. The exhibition is composed of a selection of works on paper by Stevie Dix (1990, Genk), Irma Alvárez, Laviada (1978, Gijón), Dasha Shishkin (1977, Moscow), Fabio Viscogliosi (1965, Oullins), Richie Culver (1979, Withernsea) and Felix Treadwell (1992, Maidstone).
Bordered by their black frames, the works by these artists form a foam. And yet, at the same time, each of these bubbles retains its individuality and tells its own story – from the figures in black and white by Shishkin to Fabio Viscogliosi’s and Felix Treadwell’s characters; from Álvarez Laviada’s geometries to the coloured textures in Stevie Dix’s studies, passing through the light-hearted humour of Culver’s statements. Foam, in short, that climbs up the walls of the small room and becomes dense, and concentrated, before dispersing yet again.
1. Sloterdijk, Peter. Esferas I. Madrid: Siruela. 2014. Page 27. (Spanish edition)
2. Bubbles, mezzotint by G. H. Every, 1887.
3. Sloterdijk, Peter. Op. Cit. Page 28.
Esmeralda Gómez Galera