Lapso [“Lapse”] explores the idea of temporal duration via objects which allow us to only visualize the beginning and the end of an action or transformation between materials and forms. The double meaning of the word lapse (which, aside from meaning a temporal occurrence, also refers to an error or failure in a process regarding its standards) deepens the interpretation of each work as well as the relationships between them. To configure these narratives (of temporal displacement or material transformation), the artist utilizes everyday materials like bottles and plastic bags, interacting with such devices as display windows and classical art materials in a way that assigns new meaning to ordinary moments and situations through the contamination of these two contexts.
In a text which he wrote in 2008, the artist revealed that for some time his work had been developed “from the tension arising from the conflict between a tradition in art, mainly sculpture, and contemporary ways of positioning objects,” which is also present in this exhibition: a landscape of marble is constructed inside of a plastic bag; a display window of glass and wood, precisely formalized, sustains a tree branch; a shard of glass from a broken window in the gallery is transmuted into marble.
In the piece Resgate [“Rescue”], for example, two plastic bags, united by one of their handles, contain meticulously cut pieces of Carrara marble. More than the content of these bags (the same stone that, by human action, is split in two), their position is evocative of a temporal occurrence (like a still frame in a movie) as well as a kind of mistake or failure (fall), embodying the two meanings of the word lapse: while one of them is on the table, the other hangs from this support, the only thing preventing it from falling to the ground being its connection to the first (the two handles are thus transfigured into arms – one offering help, the other struggling for survival).
An observation of the set of works in the exhibition (and also his body of work as a whole) reveals that Felipe Cohen's lapse is itself, like many of the elements explored by the artist, a simulacrum, a phantasmagoria. Just as, in one of the display windows, the real nail never meets the hole which should contain it (only its reflection – an absence whose image masquerades as presence – reaches the imminence of this contact), the artist's lapse is studied in the context of French philosophers who, in class, would simulate the naturalness of an act of failure for educational effects. The simulation of Cohen's works, while they don't attempt to teach anything in the strict sense, is pure phenomenology: it opens our eyes to the different temporalities of each material, to the impossibilities that are made (ironically and paradoxically) possible. The lapse – temporal or psychological – is a rational, conscious construct and it was placed there to create the possibility of a phenomenal revelation, by which the common order of things and our perceptions take on an unusual overlap.