Was the body dead when abandoned?
Was the body abandoned?
By whom had it been abandoned?
Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?
What made you declare the dead body dead?
Did you declare the dead body dead?
How well did you know the dead body?
How did you know the body was dead?
Did you wash the dead body
Did you close both its eyes
Did you bury the body
Did you leave it abandoned
Did you kiss the dead body
George Tokaya's installation was first presented
at the 'Pinter in London' convention, London June 2000.
About the artist and his work: (adapted from
a text by the Project bureau Academie Minerva)
George M. Tokaya Born Subaraya, Indonesia, 1951. Before entering
the Academy of Fine Arts MINERVA (Groningen, The Netherlands)
Tokaya was already uncommonly interested in the absurdity of human
contact. 'The insanity of talking at cross-purposes', 'hanging
on every word, but not having the faintest notion of any content'
and other aspects of miscommunication grip him every time: language
as a barrier rather than a means to communicate.
In communication, there is often no clear story line. Instead,
there is a series of 'free floating images' which influence the
way in which the addressee interprets the words.
When Tokaya emigrated from Indonesia to The Netherlands as a young
boy, his first encounters with the Dutch language mainly consisted
of series of nonverbal images and body language of the spoken
sentences and words. In several aspects Mr Pinter's work touched
him from the beginning. And because Harold Pinter writes so visually,
so full of images it is easy to picture the setting. Since two
years Tokaya has directed several short Pinter plays and sketches
(The Bald and White, That's All, Night, The Applicant, Interview,
That's your Trouble, Dialogue for Three). Pinter's work is an
inspiration for him to design installations, make videos, paintings
The poem Death
(Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953) of 1997 forces us to
face the dead. In Harold Pinter's words:
'Do the structures of language and the structures
of reality (by which I mean what actually happens) move along
parallel lines? Does reality essentially remain outside language,
separate, obdurate, alien, vital correspondence between what is-to
distort what happens-because we fear it? We can't face the dead.
But we must face the dead, because they die in our name. We must
pay attention to what is being done in our name. I believe it's
because of the way we use language that we have got ourselves
into this terrible trap'.
questions in the poem are inevitable for Tokaya. As inescapable
as the inevitability of death. The word 'inevitability' is a key
for the choice of strong images, such as hospital bed sheets and
forensic dissection tables surrounded by the smell of the cleaning
liquid lysol. In a repeated motion, as in the poem, it creates
almost a tautology comparable to the absurdity of war and cruelty.
Current Revenge (2000)
By George Tokaya in response to Poem Don't
Look (1995) currently on exhibition 3 February - 4 March
2001 in The Netherlands at Borg Rusthoven, Rijksweg 39, 9971 PT
Wirdum. For information and appointments telephone + 31 (0)596