This time I wasn't late. In fact, I was 30 minutes early. So I was told to join the long line of people outside the entrance and wait until they opened the doors. I was freezing, analyzing and smoking a cigarette at the same time. The Big Apple was wearing the first snow and New Yorkers’ furry coats. Everybody waiting in line was loud. The mood was very confusing but friendly, maybe because we had the same goal: get inside and see the show.
The thoughtful clatter faded out when I heard a voice. I started to hear the lines of the last note of Virginia Woolf's "Letter to Leonard" and for a moment I felt like I'm in a huge white empty room, barefoot, with a light blue face and I was hungry to versify, but all I could do was listen. It may sound schizophrenic if you don't know that me and my queens have a special obsessive admiration for the film "The Hours" and these kind of mental events happen to us very often.
Of course it was in my head and for sure it wasn't her voice. It was Nicole K. on scattered voice pronouncing Woolf’'s last words on the melancholy of the beautiful music, a soft memory from the story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
Please watch the "letter to Leonard" scene from “The Hours” and then continue with the reading.
I wasn't thinking about suicide in particular. I was thinking about voluntary endings and beginnings. It must be very difficult to decide when to stop one thing and begin another or to end it altogether in a world that never ceases to spin and where we are always sucked toward the short-term future. Our lives are shaped by decisions and every change brings an end of something; it may bring death, birth and rebirth. Death goes through decomposition and rebirth through the failing process of it and both have indestructible connection with each other and nature. According to medical dictionary death is defined as the cessation of all vital functions of the body including the heartbeat, brain activity, and breathing. But that's just the literal meaning of it. We feel things dying and birthing everyday inside of us.
You know in your heart when love is born as you know when it dies. Poetically, death is the most extreme occurrence in life — the most dramatic event, the last event, the last time, the last smile, the last tear, the last kiss, the last dance, the last goodbye.
And we celebrate and perform through traditional rituals and other mediums, in all other ways. We want to express it, to feel it to share it to talk about it and to understand it. To give a new meaning and to create a new concept of it. To own it as a theory. To earn from it. To believe or to forget that it ever existed. To forget that you and I exist.
And when we are really gone, we have a fear that snow will remove our footprints. So we are not afraid of death, we are afraid of being forgotten. Subjectively thinking, I started to document my daily actions and performances not for making great art but for being aware that I exist. Creating mirrors for saving reflections, or having time and space for looking at the history and for trying to sit back and understand. Sometimes I need to lose my mind. It is hard to bare the loss or the absence of love and happiness. There are times that I need a change. There are moments that are unpronounceable, and words aren't always enough. There are feelings, abstractions. I feel that something has to end, I feel that someone has to die. I feel like something else is ready to begin. So I turn the camera on, a take a shaving machine and I say,
Sometimes a new beginning starts with a haircut.
Finally the museum opened the doors. The event was about Maurizio Cattelan's announcement of his retirement from art making. The Guggenheim was organizing the closing of the Maurizio Cattelan: a multidisciplinary seven-hour program called “The Last Word” on a cold Saturday in January.
The show was about to begin.
The article was originally written in English.
Illustration: Maurizio Cattelan. 'Out of Blue' & 'Reflection in his eyes', 1997.
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