How many dimensions does our memory space have ?
Reto Thüring, 2013
What do Laurent Ajina’s drawings actually show? Evidently not abstract lines without reference to the physically tangible and visible dimensions of this world. But nor is the artist interest in exactly delineating and representing an object, a specific item out there. Rather, it is the tension between the objectively verifiable and the subjectively perceived that distinguishes the work of Laurent Ajina. In the course of time our memory tends to take perception apart and order it into single components, or building blocks, blending real space with our (merely) thought world. Temporally disjoint units commingle to create something new that is not necessarily less real. Impressions are passed through a sieve; in the process, some remain stuck, many drop away, others become enhanced. Memory knows more than three dimensions; it is not about height, width, and depth, nor are we dealing with a universally valid and accurately describable emotion. Memory space consists of as many dimensions as there are dots on a time line, with each dot representing one possible memory, one imaginable building block in the construction of a subjective memory space. Laurent Ajina’s multi-layered but nevertheless coherent work can be read as an exercise in remembering. The repeated assembly of individual memory blocks finds its visual, indeed corporeal, expression in the drawing of the line. In turn, the viewer is able to apprehe nd Ajina’s personal memory by tracking that line. In this sense, the tracing of one and the same rock formation over and over again (Come Closer, 2010) is like an act of self-assurance in which what is seen by eye is collated with the contents of personal memory, well knowing that no drawing will be the same as the one preceding it. In Untitled, october 7, 2002 – september 12, 2002 (2012) the head-on, unmediated relationship between experience and perception assumes the form of a descent into, and rummaging in, the cavern of memories. By superimposing, like in a collage, shreds of personal memory with incoherent fragments from speeches by George W. Bush during the Iraq War of 2002, Ajina voices a critical appeal to himself as well as the viewer. The clamp that holds the works in this exhibition together is the artist’s ongoing inspection of his personal recollection; in doing so he constantly restructures and expands the topography of his memory.