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Hic Terminus Haeret: Daniel Spoerri's Garden
by John O'Brien

I first encountered Daniel Spoerri’s work through one of his “snare-paintings.” This object (actually, a set of objects) consisted of a wall-mounted tabletop onto which the remains of a meal had been fixed: drinking glasses, cigarette butts, an ashtray, cutlery, dishes, and some residual food all clung to the wooden surface, sealed within transparent glue. Peeling labels, the fading colors of the ordinary objects, and the effects of time seemed to contradict the scene’s air of recent abandonment. The tabletop itself was quite fascinating, both in how it defeated gravity with its unusual verticality and in how its collection of residual objects hovered precisely between the determination of a sculptural composition and the haphazardness of found debris. It was hard for me as a viewer to determine just how to situate my own body in relation to this displacement of the everyday. It felt like everything was becoming topsy-turvy. It was likewise weird to imagine just how Spoerri selected the moment to freeze the meal. Why stop there and not after a few more bites?


Chamber No. 13, Hotel Carcasonne, Rue Moufftard 24, Paris 1959-1965,
1998. Bronze, 250 x 300 x 500 cm.


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