To talk about nothing

Nicolas Baier, 2003

(Translated by Jennifer Westlake)

For a long time, I’ve invented pretexts for all the situations, whether significant or inconsequential, which present themselves in my work. Each action results in very small, useless reflections that end up proposing solutions to pictorial problems of little complexity. I have this strange feeling that my work is highly optional, parasitical. It’s more of a statement than an impression, and more and more, it’s becoming an aspiration.

I no longer manage to make contact with reality, with the concrete. Stimuli are ambiguous; decoding them is laborious. I sometimes feel like a stranger, more and more distanced from ‘feeling.’

Touch is the ultimate meeting of feeling, a 3-D experimentation of the time that is left, the relief of others, their reality, the wrappings that contain them and from which they emanate. To touch is to be alive: pinch me, I’m dreaming. Only touch can repair the wounds it makes.

The most insignificant obligation, the smallest responsibility, all my projects in progress, piles of accumulated debts, my proverbial bad faith and ridiculous fits of rage, the cleaning up—which will or won’t get done—my need for my friends, work and its lot of old habits, blend together into an incomprehensible jumble.

I only see clearly in hindsight. There is no easy access to the world. Nothing will let you take it as is: everything slides away, escaping and transforming as you approach. Things exist as air born plans.

The most important thing is to do nothing, work hard at doing nothing. I have a friend who takes a nap before going to bed. Work is a delusion, a mirage that makes us believe that it’s worth the bother, that life serves some purpose. In fact, nothing is good for anything. There are only simulacrums on top of lies.

Obviously, I will go to the bother of working again, but it will be with a heavy heart. If I could still wake from my sleep to construct and wring out images, it would be with the greatest imaginable laziness and meticulousness.

I would do everything as shoddily as possible.

At my place, at your place, and all around us, it’s total chaos, a dense, motley heap of things with and without value. Everything piles up. I see the objects surrounding us as an atomization of a mysterious all the sense of which escapes me. The time I take thinking of photos of my clutter I don’t use to do the tidying up that would let me think of other subjects. So, might as well go back to bed—no nothing: no cleaning, no photos! What do I know about life but that it passes? And with it, loved ones? The road is tortuous, rough, and rescuers are seldom found. There are those who claim that all is not within, but without.

The worst thing about waking up is that you’re no longer sleeping.