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'Prophet’s Constipation' by Sam Tierney at Almanac, London

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Sam Tierney, Wheel of a Dyspeptic Convulsion, 2018
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Sam Tierney, Wheel of a Dyspeptic Convulsion (detail), 2018
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Sam Tierney, Wheel of a Dyspeptic Convulsion (detail), 2018
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Sam Tierney, Wheel of a Dyspeptic Convulsion (detail), 2018
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Sam Tierney, Wheel of a Dyspeptic Convulsion (detail), 2018
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Sam Tierney, Novice, 2018
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Sam Tierney, Untitled, 2017
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Sam Tierney, Amnesiac, 2017
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Sam Tierney, Intriguer, 2018

I had no enemies. No one bothered me. Sometimes a vast solitude opened in my head and the entire world disappeared inside it, but came out again intact, without a scratch, with nothing missing. I nearly lost my sight, because someone crushed glass in my eyes. That blow unnerved me, I must admit. I had the feeling I was going back into the wall, or straying into a thicket of flint. The worst thing was the sudden, shocking cruelty of the day; I could not look, but I could not help looking. To see was terrifying, and to stop seeing tore me apart from my forehead to my throat. What was more, I heard hyena cries that exposed me to the threat of a wild animal (I think those cries were my own).
Once the glass had been removed, they slipped a thin film under my eyelids and over my eyelids they laid walls of cotton wool. I was not supposed to talk because talking pulled at the anchors of the bandage. “You were asleep,” the doctor told me later. I was asleep! I had to hold my own against the light of seven days–a fine conflagration! Yes, seven days at once, the seven deadly lights, become the spark of a single moment, were calling me to account. Who would have imagined that? At times I said to myself, “This is death. In spite of everything, it’s really worth it, it’s impressive.” But often I lay dying without saying anything. In the end, I grew convinced that I was face to face with the madness of the day. That was the truth: the light was going mad, the brightness had lost all reason; it assailed me irrationally, without control, without purpose. That discovery bit straight through my life.

— Maurice Blanchot, La folie du jour, 1973

A prophet is said not to divine the future but to denounce the possibility of a future based on the merely extended present. Far from clairvoyant, the prophet is divinely blind and offers its opaque lucidities against the incoherence of the beliefs that sustain the world as it is. The impossible future is precisely being only what one is. A preposition, the prophet relates terms beyond opposition or subsumption in an enfolding of states, acts, qualities, and events. This relation refers to modes of being inhabiting and rehabilitating other modes of the same being. Magnetism of irreconcilability, inertia in disavowal, detachment by intensity, attendance to fortuitousness, actuality of the dissimulated–all are prepositional figures of the prophet’s mutated temporality, that “nightmare from which there is no waking save by sleep.”(Henry James, letter to Miss Rhoda Broughton, 10 August 1914.)

The condition to which prophets lend their name is defined by a search for the conditions of its own disappearance, its expression. This exhibition presents apparitions of this mode of reflexive escape. Escaping oneself means disappearing from, being expressed by, time. The time endured rather than that which delimits. The time of sickness in health and of health in sickness. The time which tells you that you are not asleep or not awake, that you cannot foretell or cannot remember.

25.5.18 — 16.6.18

All photos by Oskar Proctor

Almanac

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