Superdemocracy – The Senate of Things
Les Quatre Saisons de Moniteur belge, 1996
In order to produce his work Les Quatre Saisons de Moniteur belge (1996), Denmark collected all the Belgian legal publications during one year, then printed them and finally compressing the whole into the jaws of four metal clamps. The thin pages of the legislation disappeared behind the unbreakable volume resulting from the action of the vice; only clouds of black lines, visible on the edges, still bear witness to the written word. The law stifles, the vise clamps, the human work is compressed in the tool and the whole becomes a sculpture. The work of Denmark presents its critique in a playful approach, here the interpretations are free: one might easily think of the illegibility of legal jargon or, materialising the weight of administrative authority. The meaning fluctuates, it is not fixed; at the same time intellectual apprehension gives way to sensory uneasiness, the abundance of words disappears in form, weight, and matter.
The lack of interest of the pages represents an entity full of material. Reworked by Denmark, this full entity of material, now illegible, blocks the access to verbal content and imposes a second vacuum, that of silence. "The book attracts me in the opposite way, not to write it but to extract an image without words (...)", says the artist. The term ‘book’ comes from the Latin ‘liber’, that tender membrane which, under the bark of the trees, ensures the circulation of the sap; with Denmark, the editorial work turns back until the books finds a united materiality, in the image of their origin. The forest is both a metaphor for innumerable publications and a precious reality to be defended against destruction: "The waste of paper and the exploitation of forests concern me as much as the vagueness that masks the limits between rationality and the foolishness. Because everything is connected."