While the Women are Sleeping is a tragic short story written by Javier Marías. At its heart is the transgression of casual observation into voyeurism, ending ultimately in violence. Filtered through the gaze of a borrowed sunhat, the central character’s visual deficiencies are diminished by the curious phenomenon wherein the gauze serves to filter the peripheral rays hitting the retina. This ocular trick gave him new visual acuity, even while he appeared, at least to others, to be totally un-sighted. This keenness was not matched by emotional clarity and subsequently his vision and behaviour began to distort and unravel. Vision then might be seen as a process enhanced by an old sunhat but easily corrupted by state of mind.
The filtering of vision’s superfluous data is at the heart of these artists’ practice. Each seems to want to condense the vapors and volatility of vision, not to trap or distill it necessarily, but to acknowledge that acuity doesn’t necessarily deliver clarity; that zealous description can erode the atmosphere of meaning.
Picasso said, “…art is a lie that makes us realise truth…”, and when paintings accept the fluctuation and instability of vision, and indeed the conditions under which they are made, then their fidelity amounts to more than high definition.
– Andrew Jensen