Black Paint on wall. Dimensions variable, unlimited edition
The date refers to the year the piece was conceived.
Dark Corner couldn’t be more straightforward. It is placed in a top corner of a room, painted (very matt) black with no-nonsense, not even that of the artist’s “touch”. It smartly alludes to the wall drawings of Sol Lewitt, with their step-by-step procedures, constituting a kind of democratic demystification of art making. Aesthetically speaking, we are in the realms of what is concrete.
Dark Corner is, however, a trompe l’oeil, a trick of the eye whereby a corner of a room appears to have been shorn away. The lines that converge towards a corner suddenly disappear into a blackness so absorbent that optical focus is impossible. Literally we cannot fix our eyes on the surfaces of the corner and so it becomes a black hole in an interior that is otherwise clearly read by us. It lurks like a cobweb, with a presence that is difficult to ignore, impinging insistently on our peripheral vision when we look away. When installed in a space dedicated to contemporary art, conventionally painted white, Dark Corner is particularly emphatic.
This piece epitomises a fundamental proposition of Gussin’s work overall. It represents everything that lies outside the world we think we know, a world restricted by the nature of our perception and intelligence. It suggests that we see nothing beyond this familiar space – of straight lines and right-angles, of above and below, of reflected light – not because there is nothing beyond it, but because whatever is out there is beyond us and our apprehension. The dark corner is a puncture in the bubble that sustains us, the controlled environment that enables us to function in our everyday ways, taking things for granted as we navigate through a world that works according to “natural” laws.
Gussin is preoccupied with the difference between proximity and absolute remoteness. This pertains as much to a psychological state as a problematising of the parameters of our universe. His subjects are sublime, ironically made more awe-inspiring by the unportentousness of his treatment and a complete resistance to the temptation to embody mystery in an art object. Dark Corner is not a painted vision. It is a symbol of something not divine, but of something epistemologically out of bounds. We can talk about it, but it can’t be described. It is the unknowable.