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The Presence of Absence

Gallery W 52
31 West 52nd Street, 212 807 0832
June 7 - August 17, 2006

Dinaburg Arts and curator João Ribas present The Presence of Absence. The show features work by Jessica Backhaus, Peter Coffin, Christopher Deeton, Jonah Freeman, Marietta Hoferer, Jamie Isenstein, Bertien Van Manen, and Helen Verhoeven.

In writing about the origins of art, the Roman author Pliny relates the story of a young Corinthian girl named Dibutades: Faced with her lover’s departure, she outlined his cast shadow on a wall, thus keeping a trace of him in his absence. Pliny’s narrative, serving as an apocryphal beginning for the practice of drawing, painting, and sculpture, serves as an allegory of representation: The legend of Dibutades proposes that art is a way to give presence to absence.

The Presence of Absence deals with this idea of making absence manifest, either as a residue of the past or as a surrogate for experience, action, or physical presence. The modes range from reflective and nostalgic, to the metaphorical and abstract, and are spread across painting, drawing, and photography. As Roland Barthes noted, “every photograph is a certificate of presence.”
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