Dennis Rudolph, Revolutionaer, 2010
The Order of Things: Dennis Rudolph's "The Pleasures of the French Revolution"
A black sun held by two angels does not completely obscure the sun of the old times, the sun that was one with the ruler and the light for the people. The metropolis absorbs the blackness and emerges like an island from the unknown. No, not from the unknown, but from that which could not be known anymore; which could not be an object of knowledge, not even an object of perception. The pleasures of the French Revolution appear carnal at first view -. but they are not. Partial objects like disembodied heads dominate the scenes. As with Sade, a list, a classification, no longer even a narrative. Foucault reached the limits of representation with Sade. Thereafter follows the human being, the humanism, and his antagonism: simultaneously being a complete object of knowledge, integrated in evolution, in the history of the languages, in the sound shifts, being a psychological carrier of the mechanisms of the market. The artist's hand captures this process like a graphic machine - regardless perhaps that the name Dennis Rudolph exists to identify this hand. It knows more, it seems, because it goes beyond all of these patterns, it laughs about the shame, while it is not the shame of the obscenity, but of the seriousness in this will to an art that has no author. It laughs but the laughter does not echoe the recognition of humor. It is cold, bitter, urging. It would be easy to say that it is over. We are saying it every day. And each time we also say it to suppress that still not all is over: representation, the human being. Not only the disruption between them, by themselves, thus the tableaux of the links and the unit that gives sense, this unifying sense: the human being. They are among us, subjugated to us; they are subject. Is this the myth of the 21st century? That everything would already be over.
But even more than this: One after the other, that it is not only a duplication - to which graphic art and printing seemed to supply the first example, until we noticed that scripture has always described each thing said, each line, each form as repetition before. One after the other, that it is also the mania after the depression. This irony was given to us through performativity and also just as much through the artist-being. Another one, still more, another line, another stroke, the brush put next to the pen and next to this put the pencil, an equality between the forms, genres, materials: equality - the joy of the French Revolution! Maybe Dennis Rudolph should never again exhibit a tableau without a graphic, never again a graphic without a tableau: Equality. The names that lie like a matrix above the eyes: Sade, Koslowski, Bellmer, Bataille. Unimportant, if you read them like the real truth being in the exceeding, in the transgression or in the lust. That is the affect of this repetition: sorrow, steering the manic sweep of the graphic; ridiculousness which counteracts with the yearning for depth. The hope to create only something that already existed in the hereafter of transgression. And that can disappear again.
Felix Ensslin, Venice, April 26th, 2010