Hidden Light / Uri Gershuni
On Ady Shimony’s exhibition “Golden Hour”.
“…and be not faithless, but believing.” – The Gospel of John 2:27
In the Golden Hour, things are not exactly as they appear, or should we say – disappear. For the hour is not an hour and the gold is not gold. All the concepts that serve us when we measure and make sense of the world are undone. We are in a place where everything is questioned, we are in the realm of belief.
A photographic vision emerges before us; the photographs are burning, emitting heat, fire, and boiling lava. It seems as though the images are about to consume themselves, but miraculously they are not incinerated. There is nothing else for us to do but take off our shoes (or take off all our clothes).
In this state, stripped bare, we are left defenseless, shame begins to creep in, the eyes look down to the ground. The images beckon our gaze, they need it, but at the same time they threaten to destroy it, to maim it. Out of fear, in a desperate effort to protect ourselves, we hide our faces and cover our genitals. And just like covering one’s eyes, looking can also be a way of overcoming awe. Sight, mediated through photography, is an act of gathering evidence, establishing certainty, certifying the existence of things.
Only here things do not appear in their usual form: light is replaced by heat, interior instead of surface. The thermal photograph measures and mirrors the world not according to the amount of light reflected from it, but according to the level of heat it emits. “Drawing with light” becomes “painting with heat.”
The light vanishes, as though someone had shoved his finger deep into the Camera Obscura’s pinhole, blocking any possibility for light to come in. In the darkness, arms stretch out in all directions to compensate for the eyes that gave up on the futile effort. The hands fumble around, feeling their way, limbs bump into each other, skin rubs against skin, one body penetrates another body. Friction creates irritation and chafing, and these induce pain. Pain is a possibility for reaffirming our existence, an aching body is a living body.
Alchemically, pleasure is conjured by pain, cold blood and warm blood blend together, and the body juices turn into pure gold. The alchemy of the soul is a process of constant change. Every transformation and change entail the death of the old from which the new will arise.
“…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” – The Gospel of John 2:29