Lapsus (2005)

The work Lapsus examines the quotidian of urban life through lost and forgotten objects. For over twenty years, I have acquired objects and artifacts that personify forgetting and loss. The project has been an accumulation of chance encounters. I do not actively look for these things. Rather, the objects have found me. Glimpsed from the corner of a room or shining on a street corner, the objects frequently see me before I see them.

Often the products of everyday anxiety, these mislaid artifacts may be viewed as signifiers, or intervals, of an unconscious footprint. The objects are the unintended gifts of anonymous donors. In this respect, what is lost or forgotten is a particular form of memory itself. The objects are envoys of our desires as well as the desire of others.

Identification with the desire of another can disrupt the alienation inherent in the public-private dichotomy and may encourage an empathetic recognition or reading of these insignificant affects. In certain circumstances, such as the twisted paper clips, the objects have been shaped and deliberately abandoned. They embody the gestures and touch of their authors. With other objects, such as the pieces of paper and personal notes, there may be a broader cultural significance to the discarded messages.These misplaced objects are our garbage as well as traces of a more extensive slippage between the paradox of public and private, self and other. Symptomatic of our melancholy, they are signs of a longing that is characteristic of contemporary Western culture.

Lapsus is a continuing archive. The Dalhousie exhibition of Lapsus consists of 25 - 20”x24” framed colour photographs made from 4”x5” colour negatives. The photographs significantly transform the scale of the objects. The installation recalls the Urformen der Kunst of Karl Blossfeldt.

This work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Robert Bean @2020