Exhibition view, AplusB Gallery,Brescia.
3°00’08.8”N 139°33’10.2”W, 2 April, 3017
by Huib Haye van der Werf
-Doppelganger Thresholds, 2016 - fragments of seashells, wood, iron, concrete
-Wake, 2013/2015 - wood, fragments of seashells, iron- 90x48x42cm
-Those of us without a purpose remain deposited, 2016 - seashell dust, glass, iron, 80x10x15cm
Which form could my own sound of the sea have?
This question is the base from where I tried to develope two different forms capable of containing this thought. It’s said that if you put a seashell close to your ear you can hear the sound of the sea from where it comes. The idea that you can be connected with a sea that is far away is as beautiful as melancholic, like an echo of a past still present.
The first passage (Wake, 2013) of this sound starts from the study of the morphology of the seashell; I imagined that the lines and grooves on the surface were the recording of the sea imprinted on its form as the grooves on a vinyl record are the music.
For the second passage of this sound (Doppelganger Thresholds, 2016) I was thinking to another theory who explains the seashell sound: shells amplify the flow of listeners own blood. The 1993 textbook “Science Interactions” reports: what you are really hearing is the sound of your own blood rushing through the vessels inside your ear. You normally don’t hear this sound. The seashell makes it easier for you to hear it. So echo of past, distance and own blood made me think at the place where I grew up, my grandma’s house. In her garden there is a fence whose pillar has two holes: the first is the original hole of the gate where the deadbolt was meant to be closed, while the other (with the same function) was made later due to the slightly collapsing of the gate. I thought inside of this second hole there was the second passage of this sound. So I made an exact copy of the gate which I completely covered by seashells, and finally I closed with a piece of metal the first hole; while with two fragments of shells I closed the holes of the real gate, so that now there is a single hole of access for both.
The third object of this series (Those of us without a purpose remain deposited, 2016) is an hourglass containing the dust waste from the first and the second sculptures, an urn containing their remains.
2 April, 3017
I don’t think you remember me. I was held in your hands over one thousand years ago. Between your thumb and two forefingers you pressed against my sides. I think you were staring. While rolling my slight serrated edges over your fingertips you seemed to be contemplating my existence and therefore your own. Maybe I’m projecting things? It may have seemed insignificant to you but I felt an association. I felt that you understood me. I’m just a single valve shell and because I’ve never felt the connection to another half – but always desired to – I’m sure I felt your affiliation. It gave me warmth on my smooth white inside that resonated to my ribbed tan and white outside. You stroked your thumb over those lines running down my back, following the crests to where they come together at that jointed point. You held your thumb there, and then squeezed softly, pressing you thumb into my suave inside, and the side of your finger up and down my spine. I felt that you knew that I have a past where I have been traded for spices, gemstones and animals. I felt you knew this, and understood. You didn’t judge me on that. I think you recognized that I came from the depths of the warm black sea. Where octopi have swallowed me up over and over again, and spit me out. That I have been caught and dragged in nets for miles on end, and always thrown back without a second look. Not like you looked at me. You seemed only to be concerned with my tone, my height and direction. You sought the perfection in my form. I knew this when you held me up to your ear. It gave me the chance to let you hear what your pulsing blood sounded like. You let me let you hear yourself. Appreciate better what your human brain otherwise subdues. I gave you this, and added the timbre of your unadorned studio. So that you could understand how the labor of your work directly relates to the industry of your body. They reverberate throughout each other, and you needed to hear that. I’m proud that I could be the one to tell you.
I know why you didn’t choose me Marco. I don’t regret it and I am not bitter over it. In your studio I saw my kind shattered, chiseled and hammered, and rounded off mechanically. Hundreds of them. I wanted nothing more than to be broken into multiple pieces, each able to feel for itself your gentle touch. But I now understand why this did not happen, and why I am better for it. I saw you hold me up next to the gate. Even when it was finished and completely covered you added that metal fitting and contemplated again fitting me in. But you didn’t. I saw your sideways glance to the miniscule gap just next to the turntable’s pin. You thought of me, but it was another who completed this task. You laid me down again on our table. When all those superfluous fragments were ground to dust I felt an energy run through me of great envy. I wanted to be destroyed by you and become time itself. Now I am merely a messenger of time, and its effects.
I have been well. Drifting again. Alone, but happy. I have the memory of our being together. It has me missing you but I know that you are already dust, like the sand that settles around me. Sometimes I imagine that the smallest grain nestled against the rim of my soft inside is you. A little piece of you. I then push against it in the hope it will bring back that precise touch. Your indulgent grip. But it is a fantasy, I know. This letter illusory, I know.