“Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself); on the other hand, I enwrap the other in my words, I caress, brush against, talk up this contact, I extend myself to make the commentary to which I submit the relation endure.”
One should remember these words from Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments’. I painfully invoke the words so that I can set the ground for you to see my first two drawings — where I have imagined myself as touching myself — I tried to understand ‘touch’ on the 43rd day of quarantine.
The subsequent drawing and the featured image were works of this single existence over these few months of ‘forced’ solitude. I was trying to see myself, the marks that are lonely, the objects and bodies that are alone — on the surface and the space — during the time of loneliness imposed on us due to the pandemic. Unlike Barthes’ words, or the speech of my lover, I only had lines. If the drawings can make you feel the absence(s) that we are often dubbing as the “new normal”, the absence not only of bodies, but also of space — of space in the capacity of objects, of space through the experiencing of the bodies — then I will think that my work is accomplished.
Shaon Basu is a visual artist and writer on issues of arts and culture, currently pursuing Art History and Aesthetics in MSU, Baroda.