Melvin Moti (1977, Rotterdam, Netherlands) primarily makes 35mm films, often shown in conjunction with photography, objects, and artist books. His practice is intimately linked to history and its narrative. His films, books and art objects are all driven by his interest in the power of the viewer's imagination and the deconstruction of history. Thus, Moti explores the non-event, and a fascination with the anecdotal underlies his works: details and accidents that take place on the fringes of a History that wants to be unified, allow him to reveal the power of what he defines as “black holes”. In his film No Show, for example, Moti starts from a historically irrelevant episode: a visit to the Hermitage offered by a museum guide to a group of soldiers in 1943, in the middle of World War II. What makes the anecdote fascinating is the fact that, as a precaution, all the artworks had been removed from the rooms and kept in a safe place; only the frames of the extraordinary collection of paintings remained on the walls, as a testament to the importance of maintaining at least the memory of artworks.
Between shadows and light, between the visible and the imaginary, Moti's practice calls for scientific research as well as subjective testimony. His works seek to understand how the mechanisms of perception function neurologically and psychologically. Moti plays with the public's perceptions – his films, images and sound aim to give rise to a third space, which is born in the visitor's mind. It is up to the visitors to create their own narrative, the artist inviting them to relearn to see. For Moti, it is not a question of accumulating information, but rather of deconstructing it.
Each dimension of his recent investigation – the realm of sensory perception (especially as a result of sensory deprivation), reduction as an artistic approach (especially in empty museums) and non-production as a form of creative output – is elaborately researched, through an accumulation of resources which subsequently form the base of the artists’ writings, an essential constituent in Moti’s practice. These experimental essays are issued in the self-published artist books that accompany each film.
Support: Mondriaan Fund
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).