Once upon a time, is an introductory phrase employed to announce the beginning of a story. With it comes an anticipation of becoming spellbound, transfixed by what will follow. Once upon a time promises a journey in the mind to allow once dormant chemicals to stir. With once upon a time taut skin relaxes and shifting moistened eyes look inward as the story unfolds. In this instance, once upon a time does precisely this, however, you will only be convinced by this claim at the end, once the opening has been executed. With the claim now set, I run the risk of inflaming appetites only to leave them unextinguished by a satisfactory conclusion. No amount of pleasure can make up for being left stranded with an empty promise.
With once upon a time comes silence. Only in silence does the story grow, until someone asks a question to interrupt it and then the story teller needs to be composed so that no sense of expectation is lost.
So much is promised in art as well. Once we’ve started a work, we are compelled to tell the story, to bring the work to a satisfactory conclusion. Such is our appetite to be moved that scorn is heaped upon empty promises and it is tough. We are all critics in the context of our confidence, our irritability, our knowledge, our love.
Once upon a time there was a beginning and that beginning is now. It was such a short time ago that no time has passed since this time lapsed. Around you works stand and hang as witnesses to our presence, here. Each of them tells the story of their making. This story heralded by, once upon a time, is not the foreground now but a backdrop to the work. Were it not for the interruption of your bodies to seeing all the work clearly, this voice, my voice, would serve to remove us all. A good story becomes like a drone to turn on the listener’s, the viewer’s dream.
Just as, once upon a time promises the prospect of sleep so now is sleep and its attendant mysteries an approximation of what art holds. Art is the middle ground between awake and asleep.
We can lock this now, then, in our memories against the flow of time which carries so much away. We can be moved by the three central characters in the story. And so I give you P H, C B and O L.
Tonight is their story.