Maria Antelman’s work presents a succession of animated mechanical objects which appear to move independently in an ongoing dynamic process. Occasionally, a pair of hands seems to intervene and rearrange things, accompanied by a monotone but gentle computer voice. Only after a while does it become clear that the voice is reciting childlike thoughts and impressions of the world. The text is composed of phrases used by children which were documented by developmental psychologist Jean Piaget during his research on animistic thinking – a precursor-stage on the way to rational thought.
The objects in Stones Make the Rivers Move are arranged in such a way as to create the impression that they are capable of independent mental processes. You almost feel as though you could forge an emotional bond with them. Nonetheless, relation between the object initially seems completely irrational, leaving the viewer searching for a constant element which would allow them to put this childlike thought process into context. This proves difficult, giving us the feeling of being trapped in an adult logic that prevents us from entering into the imaginative perspective of a child. »Reality is built up by intelligence«, one of the statements tells us. Initially, this seems to suggest that reality is defined by a progressive rationality, making the boundary between reality and imagination all the more rigid. Yet in fact, the opposite is the case: reality should be based on subjective intelligence, with its creativity and mental agility, underpinned by a constant shift in perspectives on our environments. Stones Make the Rivers Move calls on us to practice creative thinking. (Sandra Reinhardt)
* We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist.