Letter for Anne-Claire, Arvo Leo
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Letter for Anne-Claire, Arvo Leo



LETTER FOR ANNE-CLAIRE, Arvo Leo from OPR on Vimeo.


(Letter = 2011, A0 size)
(Video = 2013, 2 minutes and 45 seconds)

A few years ago a woman named Anne-Claire invited me to a dinner party in Rotterdam but I was away in Paris so I requested a dinner rain check; a rain check request in the form of a large poster folded up and sent in the mail (like those over-sized checks people sometimes hold and smile with for photos). I suppose I could have just sent Anne-Claire an email, but I decided I would use this opportunity to exaggerate the mundanity of daily correspondence while fondling the veil of social etiquette slightly.

I also like that the rain check is just a coupon to guarantee something else in the future. It is absolutely useless aside from what it promises. If you wake up one morning and there is no water coming out of your shower you may eventually notice that your landlord slipped a rain check for water under your door. But sometimes when you go in the shower you want more than just water- eventually, or coming-soon-water. Sometimes you need water at the moment when you need it; even if it’s rainy, even if it’s stormy out. Therefore on these pleasant days when the shower water is already available when you need it, you could just use the rain check as a towel. Let it be physical and tangible and somewhat absorptive. Let it be useful in the present rather than in the future for a change.

Then two years later when I was applying for a grant or something I was having a difficult time summarizing Anne-Claire’s letter within a single image so I made a video to better articulate the devilish details. What happened next was the video slipped away from being pure documentation and began to grow a life of its own. It is a life that grew from a letter yes, but it’s also a life that grew from an inability to not always be able to summarize things succinctly.

Now it is 2015, the video is not a baby anymore, it is three years old; on the cusp of leaving the toddler world. Who knows what the video will look like as a teenager or as an elder, and who knows how it will act in these later stages of life. Nothing is very conclusive at this stage except for the fact that the video will certainly be a pedophile (an art-on-art pedophile that is). I say this because I have recently noticed that the video has become utterly captivated with itself at the youthful age of three and it is obvious that this toddler captivation will continue for the rest of its life and will inevitably leak over onto other three year old art works, lusting after these recently made creations and sometimes establishing a more than cozy proximity to them.

Coincidentally, in the year between the making of the Letter and the making of the Video (the year of 2012) I was invited to show Anne- Claire’s letter in an exhibition in New York; an exhibition called The Work Locates Itself. I showed her Letter along with another work (a brass plaque) that is called Field of Snow. Through a short piece of text engraved into the brass plaque Field of Snow simply encouraged someone to put their cheek on the cold metal and pretend that they were lying outside in the snow. To provide the audience with more information about these works I wrote a brief didactic panel called Two Amputated Legs. I hope by sharing this didactic panel again in New York, within the OPR publication, it will help shed some further light on Letter For Anne-Claire, but also more generally, on things that don’t exist anymore or haven’t existed yet, but sometimes feel like they are existing right now at this particular moment in time, like rain checks waiting to be redeemed or phantom limbs playing tricks on a legless being.



Editors’ Note: For Two Amputated Legs, see the PDF publication of Light-Soluble Mediums.