Portfolio of Margus Tamm

Never Odd or Even

Installation at Tallinn Hobusepea Gallery
In co-operation with Marta Stratskas

Press release:
"Art is always and everywhere the secret confession."
Karl Marx

An extended explanation to magazine Echo Gone Wrong

The sentence which is conventionally untranslatable yet conveniently interpretable. Characteristically the characters in the sentence are placed in symmetric order. When letters remain the same when reading in either direction, the sentence itself doesn't. The passage of meaningful reading is defined by the placement of whitespace.

Art is always and everywhere the secret confession
The first half of “Art is always and everywhere the secret confession and at the same time the immortal movement of its time.” - a popular maxim attributed to Karl Marx. Yet - when one starts to look for a German-language original, it cannot be found. What can be found is somehow similar maxim "Die Kunst ist stets und überall das geheime Bekenntnis und unsterbliche Denkmal ihrer Zeit." from Adolf Bernhard Marx, a classicist composer. If translated into English, it would be "Art is always and everywhere the secret confession as well as the undying monuments of its time." As much alike those two would seem, one sentence unmistakably carries the ideas of class and other of classicism. The semantic difference between two maxims lays in phrase “unsterbliche Denkmal (undying monuments)” vs “immortal movement”. German word unsterbliche can be translated both immortal and undying – we can forgo this difference. What is left is Denkmal vs Movement. Denkmal can be translated as Monument, Memorial, Benchmark; Movement can be translated as Bewegung, Satz, Entwicklung, Sendung, Trend. We can now start to look for intersections and cross down everything else. What remains is Movement and Monument bound by somehow similar sound. It is now grounded to conclude that the transition from Adolf to Karl, from classicism to class struggle, from monument to movement didn't happen through inter-language translation but through the inner-language exchange. The final maxim is a result of mishearing.