Stuck in a paradox, I start to shave myself

 

Russell's paradox can be expressed, not formally, as follows:

"In a village there is only one barber. The barber shaves all (and only) the men who do not shave themselves. Who shaves the barber?". You can make two assumptions:

- The barber shaves himself, but this is not possible because, according to the definition, the barber shaves only those who do not shave themselves;

- The barber does not shaves himself, but this is contrary to the definition, since that wants the barber shave all and only those who do not shave themselves, so in this case, the barber must shave himself as well.

In both cases we arrive at a contradiction.

The first analysis led the American philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine to consider the paradox a classic case of "reductio ad absurdum" is not possible that the barber exists.

The work, starts also by the location of the exhibition, the Chan gallery in Genoa that before opening as a space for contemporary art was a barber shop.

English philosopher and mathematician, has put in condition his colleagues to declare the nonexistence of this barber, make him disappear, moving (to return to our starting point) the debate to the fragility of existence - I think so I am - but how can we "prove" that we exist?

So what are these trail? How can we declare with certainty that we exists and how can we overcome this paradox, without being somehow in loss?

In this work, I focused on what remains of the barber work - the beard and hair - and their evocative power. The hair and beard are what sets the limits of our face and have always been an expression of different political and social affiliations.

So, I started to shave myself, to save me from that paradox of non-existence and this act became a ritual. Just before the opening I put my cut beard and hair in a transparent cube as a relics. That beard and that hair pressed against each other against the glass forming a pattern showing all my identities superimposed on a single object a trail of my existence.

The work also consists of a series of 6 drawings showing a potential catalogue of people whose beard and hair is representing a social affiliation to us.

The project was completed by a series of phrases taken from books and citations on the idea of reality and its meaning, that were exhibited on the door of the gallery one by one each day of the exhibition.

Installation / drawings
(transparent plastic cube, human beard and hair / black pen on cardboard)

2010

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