The Irony of Imagination (Csudai – Macho)

Miroslav Petříček

Even ancient philosophers knew that vision cannot be taken as given. In an attempt to explain it, they argued that it takes an environment, a medium or an element to make it possible. This element is called translucency. It is the medium that mediates vision without being visible. It is, therefore, absently present whenever anything is perceived by sight.

Yet even translucency may become visible. When this happens, and this is precisely what happens with Palo Macho and Ivan Csudai’s artefacts, then a strange, ambiguous and somehow ironic game takes place: we do not quite see a figure against a background, but instead an image that appears to be embedded in the translucency from which it emerges before our eyes and, so, is visible to us. Just that also translucency itself is visible because it has become partly opaque. The one is contained in the other, the one exists through the other, depends on the other. But what is the figure and what the background?

Glass is a material, a substance with its strictness. At the same time it is also an element. And that is the irony: it is penetrable to the eye, which can still get caught in it. The issue here is Csudai’s Teddy Bear, not Macho’s glass. Or vice versa? It is Macho’s glass, not Csudai’s Teddy Bear. Indeed, prepositions that otherwise so reliably indicate spatial relationships collapse in this weightless transparency - “under”, “above”, “to”, “in” - It is not possible to choose from among them for there is nothing to lean on.

What is this supposed to mean? Nothing more and nothing less than this: when talking about the space of imagination, we need to realise that its topology is imaginary. That is precisely why it is the space of imagination. The impossible is easily possible here. The paradox of seeing the invisible annuls itself here. And it just takes glass and a teddy bear. And, of course, a silent comet above them. This is where we take the knowledge that in the space of imagination new and new shortcuts that label the universe are born again and again. And they are both shooting stars in our world.