Reading on Awakening | with Christopher van Ginhoven Rey
Patmos. (3 black-and-white photographs mounted on board 5×4 inches each 1 color photograph 16×20 inches), by Christopher van Ginhoven Rey
19:00 – 20:30 CEST
Please register by filling out
the registration form
This reading group event is part
of SEA Foundations’ longer-term
research of art and sustainability
fold #05 on Awakening
The event is free of charge,
organised by artists and volunteers
of the SEA Foundation.
Moderated by Maria Vtorushina
The Space of Literature
Our next guest, leading the Awakening reading group is Christopher Van Ginhoven Rey. The reading will be moderated by curator Maria Vtorushina. Together we are going to read a selection from the book The Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot (1995). Christophers’s choice on Awakening are the chapters Orpheus’ Gaze and Sleep, Night.
“When I wake up, I am delivered from the illusory world of dreams. In this sense, ‘awakening’ can be said to stand for the end of an interval of ‘deception.’ This applies not just to dreams in the literal sense, but to all of the ‘dream formations’ we may be caught in even while technically awake, for example while under the influence of any of the ‘opiates’ (‘religion,’ in Marx’s famous definition) in the ideological apotheek. ‘Awakening,’ understood in this fundamentally critical sense, is not just synonymous with ‘enlightenment’ (the end of a condition of ‘ignorance’), but itself an Enlightenment operation, a paradigmatic instance of the light of rationality rising above the darkness of enchantment and myth. For our meeting, I propose to look at two different selections from Maurice Blanchot’s book The Space of Literature (“Orpheus’ Gaze” and “Sleep, Night”). These dense and difficult texts, which I hope we can decipher collectively, will situate us in the aftermath of the Romantic backlash against the Enlightenment, a backlash that can be traced in the fascination with the nocturnal world that, in the 20th century, culminates in psychoanalysis and Surrealism. Our working premise is that to fully understand ‘awakening’ we need to fully understand what it is that we awaken from. What is sleep? What is the night? Aside from providing unexpected answers to these questions, the selections will help us think about culturally significant forms of ‘awakening gone awry’ (anxiety, insomnia), as well as what it might mean to approach art not as a tool of awakening but, to quote Blanchot, as “the power by which night opens”
Christopher van Ginhoven Rey
Christopher van Ginhoven Rey is a visual artist and writer. Born and raised in Peru, he is currently based in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Opera Omnia (The Tack Room, Los Angeles, 2020) and The Solitude of Signs (Estudio, Lima, 2019). From 2014-2017 he edited Ich bin ein Junge, a magazine of art and ideas. His novel Conclave will be published in 2023 by Teorema Press in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD in Spanish literature from New York University and is a graduate of the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College in New York.
Building upon his work as a writer and a student of literature, Christopher approaches his artistic practice as a form of philology. Slow, methodical, and intimate readings of literary, philosophical, and art-historical genealogies ground each of his projects, with photography, sculpture, and drawing functioning as tools for citation, paraphrase, and translation. In his work Christopher van Ginhoven Rey seeks to recall specific fragments of cultural memory and to integrate these fragments into larger constellations that disclose and amplify dormant meanings. “I think of these constellations as conceptual essays, existing somewhere between the physical space of the art installation and the mental space of the book.” — says the artist.
See our previous or upcoming reading sessions:
More suggestions for reading? Check out the Awakening recommended booklist