18 FEBRUARY – 15 MARCH 2016
The subject of this exhibition by Sabrina Fresko, seems to be at first sight the sea, the foam of the waves and her emotional collaboration with them. Sculptures of varied sizes but with almost identical form and movement, evocate the soft and repetitive tides of the waves. These sculptures, rather than being direct depictions of the sea, are the visualizations the artist has, of watching the sea from the shore; the dreams she has while slowly floating in the sea and the emotions these dreams give her
With a large screen projection , the artist aims to strongly impress on the viewer the feeling of the sea , how that feeling affects her life. Through that screen we see the sea through the eyes of the artist , almost swim softly forward and feel the fresh salty water on our skin. This forward move will go on forever and will present us with a vast dream world. Now our promenade is not in some topography, nor is it any harbor, beach, town , village, forest or garden. As we swim towards a dream world and its timeless and dislocated depths, we leave behind the daily chores of the street, soon to forget totally the realities it forces on us.. The dream world has engulfed us and it is no longer possible to escape it’s pleasures even if we want to . Just at that instant we reconsider the sculptures. As the artist notes with regard to the exhibition: “The form borne out of my imagination triggers my imagination in turn;, I dive into the infinity form that I always repeat just as I dive into the sea and swim with repetitive strokes of my arms.”
Escaping from the dream world may not be easy for someone who is caught up in its field of attraction. Objects apprehended while awake, suddenly lose their boundaries, functions and meanings once dreams take over. The same logic applies to events: causal links are derailed and turned into fleeting moments that leave unanticipated crisscrossing traces in the sky. In such an environment all images are attractive, inviting the viewer to a magical and pleasurable stage. Now we are swimming in a vast water; as we move forward, dreams grow, objects morph into one another, and events lose their quotidian logics. Our mind turns into an uncontrollable dream-weaving machine. In short, we are now in pursuit of our pleasure, moving forward without thinking or feeling anything else. Waves are gently touching our faces.
OK, then, that which we are caught up in its pleasure, is that a constellation of interesting forms or ambiguous events that are produced by a dream machine? Not exactly. This stage that enraptures us is precisely the very realm of dreaming. What we enjoy is our own capacity to dream, the functioning of that uncontrollable machine. The sea that we plunge into is our very own dreaming capacity—the image of the sea on the screen is a representation of this. How long can we swim in this sea? Will we be left breathless at any moment? Will we ever reach the shore? Within this sea that creates the dream world, it has become impossible even to think about how to answer these questions. As the dreams that we weave engulf us, it becomes more awkward to think about these shallow questions standing in front of the screen that the artist installed in the gallery space; nothing can separate us anymore from these pleasurable dreams, or better yet, from the pleasure of dreaming.
We are in the middle of the sea as a realm of dream and the objects that are produced by that sea are floating all around us: Colorful sculptures that cover the gallery space like waves from one end to the other. Images of little sculptures formed by stones collected from the seaside, not unlike idols that are used in a ceremony concocted in the name of the sea. In the gallery, we wander along these objects, finding our own path, with soft strokes, feeling the salty water, like the artist, on our bodies; the foam of the waves are bathing our faces. Not unlike the way our minds fail to depart from the pleasures of dreaming, they will fail to detach themselves from the art objects, the forms that are produced within that pleasure. Such that, we will consume these sculptures with uncontrollable appetite, we are going to desire for more pleasure and look attentively for something beyond as we walk around them. Just around the corner, we will encounter smaller and more ornate metal forms that resemble morphically to the sculptures. This feeling of pleasure that we are in pursuit of will lead us out of the depths into the domain of more quotidian pleasure: We will soon witness how these sculptures transform into dashing pieces of jewelry. Looking at these objects we will think: How long will I stay in this world of pleasure? How much more pleasure will I desire?
Nonetheless, we the viewers, will soon wake up from this dream; questions regarding how much longer will this pleasure be sustained or how long will the stage of pleasure will keep us hostage will suddenly be answered. No one should wonder that the answer will be brutal. While we are lost not only in the emotional link that Sabrina Fresko constitutes with the sea but also in the world of pleasure that she forges out of that link, while we are getting used to that realm of pleasure and while we have established an absolute harmony with the attractive and unanticipated forms that emerge out of her dream stage, we fail to notice how she is concocting a rather bad surprise for us. Just as we approach the small and rather inconspicuous screens on the walls, we are confronted with a tragedy carried by the very same sea instigated the dreams and pleasures: inflatable boats full of migrants heading towards their destiny full of uncertainties… and others waiting on the shore, looking at the horizon, getting ready for a similar journey… This is the grave truth hidden under the atmosphere of pleasure that engulfs us.
Sabrina Fresko, in this installation, demonstrates the violence that permeates pleasure; “the foam of the waves,” viewed close up does not seem that attractive anymore. At this precise moment, we need to rethink this exhibition. Why are we deprived of the pleasures of the sculptures, the forms and the ecstatic view of the sea? Why does the artist suddenly destroy with her own hands the dream scene and the multiple pleasure objects that can be generated out of it? Why are we compelled to rethink in the comfortable midst of this ecstatic context? Maybe we suddenly realize the following: Profound pleasures or quotidian pleasure… And diverse forms that are presenting us these pleasures… Does anyone have a right to destroy these objects of dream, to take them away from us? Of course not! But then why does the artist play with us in this manner in this show? Why does she confront us with images that wake us up and make us feel awkward from experiencing enjoyment? Searching for answers to these questions, a new question emerges: If the artist wanted to destroy the pleasure that is created through her sculptures, why did she furnish the gallery space with a pleasure and dream scape?
English by : Yahya M. Madra