‘trying to wait’, 2014
11 x 15.25 inches, digital c-print, edition of 10 (edition 1 and 2 for MATERIAL)
trying to write about waiting…
he told me to give him time and space, and then he disappeared. i told him i would wait.
what am i waiting for? what does waiting mean, and how to quantify this in time, days, weeks or more? is this merely a way to grasp for an unattainable hope, a refusal to let go and say goodbye?
yesterday was world AIDS day and i’ve been sifting through images that friends have posted online, many of which are of artworks by felix gonzalez-torres, images of his candy piles, light bulbs and curtains installations. i fixate on his sculpture “untitled (perfect lovers)”, 1987-1990. the piece is of two identical analogue clocks that tick alongside one another. like many of felix’s’ artwork, the sculpture is produced through a set of instructions:
1. purchase two identical black-framed, battery operated commercial clocks with a 14” diameter.
2. set both clocks to the same time.
3. hang clocks at a height and location desirable to you. place clocks directly next to each other touching (as in illustration).
what are perfect lovers? two people that try their best to stay in sync, knowing that they’re separated by the barrier of their own bodies? what happens if one clock ticks slightly faster than the other? or a battery dies? or a clock breaks?
i’m rereading don delillo's white noise, a novel about the fear of death. the main character jack and his wife babbett discuss that if they were given the choice of who should die before the other, they both want to go first. they both can’t imagine moving on.
who will be last to say goodbye?
i didn't cry when my grandmother passed. i was 20. she had been sick for years and i remember my family standing by the edge of her bed waiting for her to go. i didn't cry when my parents divorced. i was 18. i had been on vacation, right after graduating high school and came home to my mother alone. my father’s side of the closet was already empty. i remember her telling me that she wished he had died instead, because then she would be mourning just him and not their 28-year relationship as well. the only time i cried in my early 20s was my junior year in college as i sat on the floor of a friend's living room and watched the series finale of the television show six feet under. i began to ball as ruth, the mother character, passed away. she died like my grandmother, with her family around her, and her face reminded me of my mom’s face when she told me that my father had left, each of them trying to let go.
he told me once that in order to forget the pain of the past, we must accept it as dead.
i think again about gonzalez-torres, who made art about his partner ross lycock. ross died of AIDS, and Felix would, too, five years later. i wonder if they fought, what they fought about, if the argument ever blew up and then one of them slept on the couch. i wonder who was the more outspoken, and who was more emotional. i wonder if they slept with other men while they were still together, and who did felix have sex with after ross passed on.
ross has become for me the ideal metaphor for a lost lover. he left, and felix waited. felix watched as ross died, mourned, and waited for his own body to disintegrate. i look at felix’s clocks and because they are objects (bodies) and i realize that they will both eventually fail. relationships function sometimes, occasionally, or just enough, and then hopefully the things that are successful stay more important than the things that aren’t. i imagines ross and felix’s relationship was difficult, not just because of illness, but because they were two beings attempting to understand one another and the collisions and mergings of two clocks are what even after death keep them together.
why am i able to understand the world through objects, such as clocks and televisions? how do these stand-ins become more real for me than what i encounter in front of me? opposite to that, what right do i have to use the agony of another’s as a way to understand my own heartache? why can’t i accept my loss on its own terms?
there’s no such thing as perfect lovers, only an idea, a fantasy, i hold onto while i wait.
Paul Pescador was born in 1983 in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from the University of California at Irvine in 2012, and his BFA from USC. Recent solo exhibitions, projects, and screenings include: Park View, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Anthony Greaney, Boston, MA (2013); the Vista Theater, Los Angeles (2012); and Human Resources, Los Angeles (2011). Recent performances include: PAM, Los Angeles (2015); Sweety’s, Boston (2014); Hammer Museum, with KCHUNG TV, Los Angeles (2014); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2014); Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University, Los Angeles (2012); and ForYourArt, Los Angeles (2012).