Forget to Remember: Mark Melvin at Galerie Sherin Najjar


It’s just a little over a year since i first saw Mark Melvin’s exhibition at the Cob Gallery, and now I am returning to write about his work again. There is an appropriate sense of deja vu involved in the process of writing which strikes a chord with the intentions of his Berlin exhibition at Galerie Sherin Najjar: Forget to Remember, for which I am writing a catalogue essay.

In going to meet Melvin for a second time, there is a foundation of conceptual knowledge I must remember and works of art which I must try to recall in recognising the progression of his practice in this fresh show. The exhibition will open on the 26 April, and here’s a little extract from the essay on the experience of deja vu in forgetting to remember.

“The experience of Forget to Remember after remembering to forget is akin to looking at somebody else in the mirror. We look at our own image every day with such blind faith: we take what we are given; but in seeing somebody else contained in the glass we understand that the picture reflected is always slightly distorted, that the symmetry is not quite right.

The works in Forget to Remember have been carefully selected and curated to echo the works included five years ago in Remember to Forget, recreating the ‘feeling’ of that exhibition: but the echo is never harmonious, it is distinctly jarring. The reflection has slipped slightly to show something only fractiously remembered and now newly realised.

For second time visitors the exhibition presents a déjà vu founded upon an accumulating sense of recognition and a growing uneasiness: a video piece swapped for another here; words removed from their contexts and replaced elsewhere; themes, energies and philosophies all shifted into new frames. The echoes are as subtle as the palindromic movement of the clock (Time Piece –bury your head in the sand or bury the sand in your head 2012), but they are nevertheless present. Melvin has very deliberately manufactured an experience of déjà vu for the viewer of Forget to Remember.


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