Liminal Difference



This title came to our mind when pairing the works of Charif Benhelima, Nina Papaconstantinou and Francis Alÿs.

What is the threshold, they made us ask, between what can be perceived and what is unobservable with our senses, that which happens too quickly or too slowly, that which is too small or too large to make any difference? Like Marcel Duchamp's “Infra-Thin”, liminal difference cannot be defined accurately but merely exemplified, by the speed of plant growth, the increase of water in an ocean after light rainfall or the distance between two sides of a paper sheet. Art dealing with these thresholds, the inconceivable stages in between different states, reflects on more than the limits of human perception. It questions the very construction of the human psyche because what we perceive determines how we define ourselves and the world around us.

Benhelima consciously overexposes polaroids to find barely visible the essence of iconic banalities around us. His series Black-Out question the nature of perception. Papaconstantinou made Sylvia Plath: The Missing Journal by using a pen with no ink, alluding to the story of a diary that has been written but cannot be read. Alÿs literally enacts his belief by having the surface of one side of a hill moved by a long line of people to the other; literally moving a mountain by faith.

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