The poet who wanted to be buried underneath a pinball machine

Stigter Van Doesburg is pleased to present the first solo show by Egyptian artist Dina Danish at the gallery.

The title of the exhibition refers to the American poet Jack Spicer. Spicer (1925-1965) was among the founders of “6” gallery in Fillmore Street where the Beat generation was launched, but he always preferred to remain an outsider to the group. Inspired by Surrealism, he used to claim that poetry was coming to him from outside forces - like Martians - and that he functioned as a transmitter for dictated lines and rhymes. He compared the poet to some one hosting a pinball machine, which he also considered to be an ideal graveyard for himself.  With this in mind Danish transformed the whole gallery into a gigantic pinball machine. Deliberately a bit clumsy done, but all the forms and tools are still recognizable. As a visitor you become the ball, finding your way through objects and obstacles, waiting for the right moment to hit or run. For Danish the encounter between life and props is what it is all about: the props in the space loose their relevance as forms, and become facilitators for the transmission of energy, meaning and matter. Far from a perspective of historical exactness, Danish rewrites biographies and moments of the past. She reinterprets the subject’s intentions, creating new possible understandings. If “Words are what sticks to the real”, as Jack Spicer wrote in ‘After Lorca’, then mimicking the scoreboard of a pinball-machine sticks perfectly to Jack Spicer’s words.

At the back space we show the work Stop, Sun! Continue, Sun!. It is a diptych of paintings, one of which is destined to fade in sunlight. Accompanied by a script, this destiny is envisaged in the form of a dialogue between the relevant ‘characters’ – the Director, Paper One, Paper Two and the Sun – as they together work through the various stages. The work was made in response to artist John Smith's renowned film The Girl Chewing Gum (1976). The fist image in the diptych, Continue, Sun!, is the result of a specifically folded acid-based paper that has been exposed to the sun, resulting in an abstract image. Once unfolded and due to the exposure to daylight when exhibited, the image will continue to fade and eventually disappear. Hence, the title is an order to do what is beyond the artist’s control. The other image in the diptych, Stop, Sun! is a re-creation of the first image created by the sun as an oil painting, and its title is again an instruction to the sun, this time to preserve the image.