A (child’s) hand cast in plaster is a fairly familiar object. The moment the hand touches the still shapeless material is preserved. The hand itself is present/absent: both its past and its present are being held within the material, revealing its complex temporal structure. Georges Didi-Huberman’s essay „Ähnlichkeit und Berührung“ („Resemblance and Touch“) extensively analyses the history and theory of molding and casting in art, pointing out Marcel Duchamp as one of the most important artists employing these techniques, albeit sometimes only seemingly so.
Aron Mehzion brings to mind Duchamp’s practice in his piece „Corrélation non-local“, the mold of a left hand opposite the cast of a right hand, both objects being simultaneously separated and connected by a semitransparent mirror. Looking into and through the mirror it becomes apparent, that the cast and mold fit together perfectly. One mirror image overlaps with the other, the moment of touch between hand and plaster is manifested there. The transparent mirror shows the impossible touching of two objects, each of them can only exist as a direct result of this contact.
A right hand leaving the mold of a left hand implies the departure from Euclidean space. Only when having rotated within a four-dimensional space – in a similar way as Gottfried Plattner’s body in H. G. Wells’ story – would the hand be able to emerge from a mold like that, there being no other way that a three-dimensional object could be converted into its own mirror image. This only happens in an imagined space whose four axes extend at right angles to each other.
According to Duchamp, three-dimensional things which are familiar to us are merely projections of four-dimensional objects. This being the reasoning behind several of his works and particularly pertinent for his well-known “The Large Glass“. Tellingly, Aron Mehzion utilizes a piece of glass in a similar way as a surface to project four-dimensional geometry onto. This makes him the first person since Duchamp to artistically explore conceptual spaces in the
fields of physics and, more specifically, in supergravitation and superstring theory.
Using 3D printing the artist produces identical, mirror-inverted copies. Additionally in his most recent work he attempts to realize volumes generated by objects in movement, in this case hands, accumulating and overlapping multiple states as they move through time and space. The results are abstract constructs that defy succession and in turn appear as visual depictions of simultaneity.
His large drawings are interpretations of the same thought as graphic gestures on a flat surface, each referencing an object. Repetition and overlay contribute to the dissolution of any representation in favor of a perceived simultaneity, depicting a view of the object that incorporates all possible perspectives. Only creatures with four-dimensional vision would be able to see objects from all sides at once.
In this way Aron Mehzion’s works enable us to catch a glimpse of a world we are inherently unable to set foot in, one that is nonetheless present in the possible spaces that exist in physical and mathematical theory.
Text: Falk Wolf, Translation: Aline Schwibbe