Cover image of the review
Installation view of Tom Blake, holding leaves (index.), N.Smith Gallery. Image courtesy the artist and N.Smith Gallery.

Tom Blake: holding leaves (index.)

26 Nov 2022
N. Smith Gallery 9 Nov - 26 Nov 2022

What does it mean to live inside the present? This is the question Clarice Lispector is asking in Água Viva (Living Water) (1973), a text that grabs on to the present—the instant-now—and never lets go. “I want to possess the atoms of time,” writes Lispector, and Água Viva is a novel where there is no past or future, where we are always in the soup of action and event. It is an exhilarating and dazzling saga composed entirely of fragments, an episodic volume where language itself is often on the verge of disintegration. “The instant-now,” says Lispector, “is a firefly that sparks and goes out, sparks and goes out.”

It is this type of continuous present, the here-and-now of the firefly, that Tom Blake is occupying in his latest solo show, holding leaves (index.), now on view at N.Smith Gallery. Drawing on Água Viva, this sophisticated and assured exhibition extends Blake’s ongoing preoccupation with the experience of time—how we can hold onto, and collate, fragments, associations and memories.

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