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INEXORABLE DISSOLVE: JAMES COLEMAN BLINDSIDES ART

I am standing before James Coleman’s La Tache Aveugle (The blind spot, 1978–90), a slide projection derived from a brief sequence, less than a second long, of the 1933 film The Invisible Man. I witness an outrageously attenuated and inexorable dissolve—20 minutes duration for each frame, the whole cycle taking several hours to complete. Virtually nothing happens except almost imperceptible shifts in perspective; nobody, of course, materializes.

This dramatized deferral of the moment of revelation that one anticipates from the image, from film, strikes me as immensely comic, in a Borgesian kind of way. Coleman’s work, I think, shares with Borges’ the thought that Western man’s investment in the sovereignty of reason as the way to the truth and order of the world has led him into a labyrinth of chimeras. There is a profound absurdity in man’s search for the “secret” or “truth” of

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