croxhapox Gent

June 2015

Mental Thing

by Herve Ic


Linda Carrara chose the genre "still life" for her work, a genre which fell into disuse after being overtaken by modernity. This term has belatedly been designated to a vast genre of painting under-evaluated in terms of academic technique but particularly fertile on the experimental side. It focuses on the ambiguity between and the evolution of our relationship to objects - tools – prosthesis, that fit everyday materials as they condition our habits of thought and our judgemental skills.


Detached from its social, psychological or even intimate context, the object of the representation becomes the neutral tool of a mental exercise, a dialogue between reality and verisimilitude, exerted in the articulation of perceptions, in place of our cognitive reflexes.


Mental Things

Linda Carrara's painting is made of simple shapes and structures. That is to say, objects, insofar as they correspond to those features. Their representation mainly emphasise spatial dimensions, volumes and lines, with an economy of means that makes the interaction they have with each other sensitive, rather than their own constitution or appearance. In this, the main interest is not the object as a material thing, but the object as a taut space, connected to the related objects.


This is a dynamic ecosystem, an organisation of fullness and emptiness that offers the mind ways to perceive the world, without the world.


Life without life.

An old work, Grey On Grey, represents a prone cuboid topped by an energetic and fluid tree. Instinctively we recognise the dialectical opposition between the body and the structure. Yet the tree seems disembodied and has got no leaves. Although it looks like a shape of life, it is not exactly "alive". It is therefore, in this state, two comparable structures. One imitating life, and the other imitating mind. They meet in the world of world's abstractions.


The "Wood Paintings" (thus temporarily named because they are inspired by a set of pieces of wood) are recent large canvases.  On a wide surface crossed by simple lines recalling the perspective of a floor, elements are arranged in a manner which, while appearing random, varies the positions they occupy in space. Parallels, perpendiculars, angles, verticals, overlays or shadows, opacities or transparencies reflect the study and the intervention of the hand, like the scattered pieces of an incoherent strategy.

They remind us that in painting, the thought is first a thought of space getting into the world using all available devices.


These paintings are the result of a mental combination that is built into the process of painting, without a model and without a predetermined outcome. In this, they are not a painting of the image. The image, that would be the evidence of a precise time, is not calculated but recorded. It is frozen. Now these objects are dynamic by the tensions they maintain,  malignantly growing scarce and excessive.

While it is natural for the mind to complete what is lacking and to synthesise what is complete, incoherent perspectives strengthen a permanent reconsideration that does not leave the mind at rest.


The object of representation has never been anything else but a mediator of thought to escape the material, evacuate its frozen image and meditate over what remains, that is to say: the vacuum.

Mental Things master degree