With the term “clinamen,” the Roman poet Lucretius described the cause for the emergence of all new things, both in a physical-material and in a spiritual-philosophical respect. In Lucretius’s view, the world consists of the smallest particles, constantly in free fall. Due to random or controlled aberrations—Greek and Latin: clinamen—they collide. It is only like this, Lucretius believed, that new matter or insights can be created.
In the pictures of Emmanuel Bornstein, we also find the idea of a world that appears to be coherent and holistic at first sight, but in reality consists of shreds, particles, and fragments. His work, too, is often about the falling, disintegration, and bursting of supposedly stable structures, about the constant eroding or imploding of power arrangements and systems of order, at the small as at the big scale, in private as well as in society at large.
Looking at Bornstein’s both dramatic and fragile image compositions, the viewer detects hidden aberrations, in the very sense of Lucretius, that give the events an unexpected turn, noticeable only at second glance. It always remains open whether this turn will, as a consequence, lead to the ultimate catastrophe and upheaval or already to a restructuring and to hope.
With the cycle “Clinamen,” Bornstein thus hearkens back to ancient philosophical insights and connects them to the aggregate state of current world events.
Emmanuel Bornstein was born in Toulouse in 1986 and has been living in Berlin since 2011. He studied painting at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and with Leiko Ikemura at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. His works have been shown in several solo and group exhibitions in Amsterdam, Chicago, Moscow, Istanbul, Paris, and Ottawa; most recently, the Kiesler Stiftung in Vienna has presented his solo exhibition “Face to Face” (on view until March 1, 2019).all images © the gallery and the artist(s)