Blanqui's Cosmology
Warren NeidichTue 09 Oct 2007 - Sun 18 Nov 2007
Louis August Blanqui (1805-1881) was considered one of the most unrelenting insurrectionists of his age and spent most of his life in prison because of his political views. In spite of this incarceration he exercised wide influence as a journalist and orator. Using the ideas of Blanqui as a source of inspiration and as a metaphysical platform, Neidich's series of black and white photographic images, resurrect the very spirit of the late nineteenth century, as a means through which we may understand the mind of the contemporary subject.
Louis August Blanqui (1805-1881) was considered one of the most unrelenting insurrectionists of his age and spent most of his life in prison because of his political views. In spite of this incarceration he exercised wide influence as a journalist and orator. Using the ideas of Blanqui as a source of inspiration and as a metaphysical platform, Neidich's series of black and white photographic images, resurrect the very spirit of the late nineteenth century, as a means through which we may understand the mind of the contemporary subject.

Neidich's exhibition explores the late 19th century in order to investigate and understand the conditions that produced Modernism. The minor history of Modernism, especially as it informed modern art, describes a world in which the spiritual, the unconscious, the scientific and the imaginary were all inter-related.



Louise August Blanqui (1805-1881) was considered one of the most unrelenting insurrectionists of his age and spent most of his life in prison because of his political views. In spite of this incarceration he exercised wide influence as a journalist and orator. It was during one of these imprisonments that he set down his political-cosmological speculations entitled 'L'éternité par les Astres'. Blanqui insisted that given the infinity of time and space in the universe and the finite elements of entities that can be combined, in this case the celestial bodies, all the possibilities that we can possibly encounter are a drama of endless repetition.



Neidich adopted a photographic methodology over a ten year period, from 1996-2007, in which long exposure photographs were made by drawing on the shaved head of male and female subjects, with a penlight in the dark as the tool for this investigation.

Portraiture Each of these performative drawings with light, of which one hundred of the over one thousand two hundred are exhibited at Trolley, sometimes would take five minutes to produce. As such, these images hark back to the long exposure portrait photographs of the nineteenth century, in which special braces and harnesses were used to stabilize the head during long exposures.

Phrenology, CAT Scans, Eugenics, Spirit photography As a group they unveil the wide assortment of trends and interests that would form Modernism's underbelly, such as the conditions of the material and immaterial, as well as the radical methodologies that were spawned to understand them. These include the wide-spread use of hypnosis, the medical determinations of phrenology (the study of the shape of the skull to determine mental character), the social-political implications of eugenics, the early exploration of the inside of the body with x-rays, the quasi-scientific proof of Spiritualism and lastly the production and utilization of the unconscious to cure mental and psychic disturbances.

Astronomy photographs Photography as apparatus created a new lexicon, it sampled reality in a new way providing the mind with new forms of, for instance, visual experience that together formed new conditions of meaning as well as producing new metaphors, the explosion of stars as a photogenic occurrence.



Neidich here is looking at the very conditions of the production of the image of thought which one finds in early Modernism, as a means through which we may understand the mind of the contemporary subject. Using the ideas of Blanqui as a source of inspiration and as a metaphysical platform, his series of black and white photographic images, resurrects the very spirit of the late nineteenth century, as well as recasting the birth of Modernism in terms of the Phantasmagoric, that quality which allows us to project our unconscious thoughts upon the world as a series of superimposed, collaged and juxtaposed illusions.
Artworks will be added shortly