Contemporary Art – Richard Nonas
IN THE MOUNTAINS…
“In the mountains the past is never behind, it is always to the side. You come down from the forest at dusk and a dog is barking in a hamlet. A century ago in the same spot at the same time of day, a dog, when it heard a man coming down through the forest, was barking, and the interval between the two occasions is no more than a pause in the barking.”
(John Berger, Pig Earth)
In the mountains everything starts from change. Everything is unmade until it’s finished; unknowable until it’s done —and nothing is never done. Each addition, each subtraction, each change, changes everything. Memory changes everything. Forgetting changes it again.
In the mountains stones fall: that is the sideward past of Val Ferret.
In the mountains Pra Sec is still a work site; shepherd huts, barns and pasture land. Cows still pass through it. Herders still walk through it. —Stones, bones of that sideward past, continue to fall.
But, in the mountains the past is never behind. Some of those stones were, and can still be, captured —laid out in the language of human need, the hard geometry of human control; can still be repurposed as dog-bark proof of cultural continuity and emotional relevance.
—As pause in the unending press of change.