The Thing / Das Ding︎Recent Projects






The Thing / Das Ding, 2017
Sculptures developed in Tyvek paper (100% recyclable material) and resin.


The Thing / Das Ding is a series of visual experiments based on the exploration of two concepts. On the one hand the sinister, addressed by R. Maria Rilke in his text The Duino Elegies (1923). And on the other, the concept of das ding (the thing) developed by S. Freud and taken up by J. Lacan in his Seminar #7 (1959-60).

Rilke states that beauty is nothing but the beginning of a terror that we can barely bear, it makes us feel overwhelmed because serenely disdains alienating us. For the author, an element of nature has the power to provoke ideas of terror or danger and operates in a manner analogous to the sublime; that is, it is the producer of the strongest emotion that the mind is capable of feeling. This duality between the sublime and the sinister occurs when the imagination is dragged into a state of horror, into the unknown, immensity, infinity or silence, but at the same time, a controlled fear that attracts souls to the beauty of the abject.
In the light of this statement, the photographs of this series were taking on meaning in me. The object exists depending on its atmosphere, lighting, staging and subsequent digital edition, only in the photograph, and the experience of anguish is then similar to that described by the poet. The sensation is familiar and at the same time phantasmagoric, the represented nature also shows its own complex and dual system.

But these objects that I develop and photograph, memory of a vegetation world, not only refer to mystery and attraction, but also refer to the concept of das ding. They are still vegetable objects and yet indefinable, they are "thing" and represent, as Freud and Lacan put it, an idea of everything that can not be perceived in the tangible world and which can only be arrived at through reasoning. In short, an instance of desire or attraction towards something that proposes the beautiful / horrific dichotomy.

These works, independent of each other, enclose the idea of "the thing" and "not thing", pure image, of that which is absent, that is not an idea but only a desire, that only its nomination or its image makes it present. This is, in my opinion, the raison d'être of a large part of photography, to perpetuate the moment of something that a 60th of a second later, is no longer, photography is always absence.

©Laura Messing 2020