Michael Maranda


Aufhebung [history]

1,540 drawings, each 25X25cm
graphite on paper

statement .  .  .

This visual project revolves around notions of history as an empty frame, as a flow-chart that is made to be filled in very particular manners, with very particular materials. Each drawing in the series is not technically a drawing as it is indeed written — the word, aufhebung (the German word that denotes the successful resolution of the dialectic), is written and overwritten to the point of unintelligibility at which point it ceases to be a written text (but it might be a form of écriture). The form that the word takes is not so important as the practice of writing it N+1 times, to the point of illegibility, while still retaining a shape identifiable within the context of the series, as being the same — equivocal but not identical. Thus, the generic indication in title, or in caption, is enough to indicate to a viewer the source and context of the piece.

Aufhebung does not happen in an action (such as a drawing or a revolution) but it is optimistically hypothesized in a narrative of that action. If it ever does occur, it is only after the fact in the marking of that action as an event, as significant within the pre-existing narrative of progress which is history. In the post facto marking of the action, the event post-dates the narrative and the narrative pre-dates the action. For an historical event to repeat itself is to fail in the teleological process, is to achieve at most a glorified stagnation. Thus I enact the rules of the game — in a narrativist event and not in a narration of an event — to see the making legible of the structure of the rhetoric at the same time that the disjuncture between this structure and any content that it might presume to contain.

The series consists of a group of 25x25cm graphite on paper drawings. Each separate drawing uses a unique combination of three pencils and, as there are 20 different grades of pencils available, there are a total of 1540 drawings. While various techniques are used in the process of the drawing which affect its appearance — erasing, blending, and abrading — the application of the graphite is done only through the writing of the word.

The drawings are arranged in a 30x30cm grid that extends from floor to ceiling. Suspended precariously on the ends of nails which extend 5cm from the wall, they react to the movement of the viewer to the point of, in the case of overly mobile viewers, falling to the floor.

exhibitions .  .  .


•  Solo. Galerie B312 (Montréal)


•  Group. Hartnett Gallery, University of Rochester

reviews .  .  .


•  Lehmann, Henry. “Scrutiny only Deepens the Mystery,” The Montreal Gazette (April 4, 1988), p.J6.