gerlach en koop

Untitled (...)

Custom made necklace, silk and silver
Edition of 10 plus 1 AP
Eu 1.000 (excluding VAT and shipping)

gerlach en koop
Founded in 2000
Live and work in The Hague, the Netherlands and Brussels, Belgium

The elusive sculptural and conceptual work of gerlach en koop involves modifying, displacing or copying ordinary objects with subtle, almost invisible gestures. This approach begins with their name (always in lowercase): the moniker actually denotes two Dutch artists who prefer to be called a ‘collective artist’ rather than an ‘artist duo’ in order to distance themselves from their individual identities.

Artworks are ‘Untitled’ mostly because they aren’t given a title. Sometimes however a work has lost its title, or the title was taken from it. The addition (...) is a punctuation mark, the so-called ‘ellipsis’, oddly named ‘beletselteken’ in Dutch. Ellipsis comes from the Greek, meaning ‘to leave out’ or ‘missing’ but it also refers to the geometrical figure of the ellipse.

This necklace will always be made to the measure of the person buying the work. Some years ago gerlach en koop were taken by a story that might or might not be true: during the ten years of the French Revolution certain people, women ánd men wore strings around their necks, exactly to size, so that it would delineate the position where their heads would be separated from their bodies by the guillotine. A gesture that could be seen as an invitation to be beheaded, a provocation, but also as a sign of mourning and of solidarity with the decapitated. There are no engravings, drawings or paintings to know how these necklaces looked like at the time, but later on this gesture entered the jewellery trade as the so-called ‘choker’, from ‘to choke’ or ‘to suffocate’, for a necklace sitting tightly around the neck.

Untitled (...) was first exhibited in the exhibition A line is a breadthless length at lxhxb in Eindhoven. From the press release of this exhibition:

A line is a breadthless length.

Misread. Like almost everyone else. A length you cover without breathing.
I was thinking about diving without a cylinder. Leaving behind a circle of daylight getting smaller and smaller while you pull yourself into the deep along a perpendicular guide line. Or just the distance covered holding your breath. Without oxygen. The number of paving tiles. The number of steps. The light circle of the streetlamp you can just about reach, or not.
I was thinking about the respirator in hospitals. The wavy line against the black surface of the monitor flattening to a straight one.

But it doesn’t say ‘breathless’. That is a mistake, a misreading. It is an uncommon word, probably an all too literal translation from the original source: Euclides’ Elements. A line is a breadthless length. Geometry. The Elements is the oldest and most mathematical treatise, influential well into the twentieth century.

Breadthless. I tried to pronounce it several times but not being a native speaker I couldn’t make the ‘d’ sound out. The ‘th’ sounded clearer though, as if this was the only function of the ‘d’, to amplify the sound next to it. Maybe it’s tongue-breaker in English too. Maybe even in English the difference is too small to be noticed.