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Representing the Undecidable

Michel Tombroff
Nov 30, 2018 – Jan 9, 2019

Art is not what is not art”. “A work of art is a tautology”. Forever these words from the masters Ad Reinhardt and Joseph Kosuth will be there for us to reflect upon, and force the conceptual artist to answer the following question: am I destined to produce, mechanically, artistic theorems?

Representing the Undecidable is my attempt to understand and transcend the analytical limitations of conceptual art, by confronting its linguistic conditions with the nature of truths it produces. But the language of art has no alphabet, no syntax, and no grammar, and the logic of art is not constrained by modus ponens and excluded middle principles. Under these circumstances, how can the conceptual artist discern truths from mere veracities?

An artwork, like a truth, is not. It befalls. The artwork is the result of the militant, hesitant, hazardous action of the artist. It is undecidable, because it originates from an unpredicted event, a rupture in being; it is indiscernible, because it emerges from the artist’s free will; and it is unnameable, because, unique object in the universe, it cannot have a name, not even a proper noun. And yet, paradoxically, the artwork is there before us, and we name it. My art is inspired by this paradox.

Philosopher Alain Badiou points us to the infinite, generic multiplicities of set theory to resolve the conundrum, so I decided to try to materialise these multiplicities in the hope that, somehow, truth will emerge. The undecidable is the first stop of this journey. The indiscernible and the unnameable will be next.