Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through
Author: T Fleischmann
Publisher: Coffee House Press (2019)
How do the bodies we inhabit affect our relationship with art? How does art affect our relationship to our bodies? T Fleischmann uses Felix González-Torres’s artworks—piles of candy, stacks of paper, puzzles—as a path through questions of love and loss, violence and rejuvenation, gender and sexuality. From the back porches of Buffalo, to the galleries of New York and L.A., to farmhouses of rural Tennessee, the artworks act as still points, sites for reflection situated in lived experience. Fleischmann combines serious engagement with warmth and clarity of prose, reveling in the experiences and pleasures of art and the body, identity and community.
“To eat the candy; it’s candy from “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), Felix González-Torres’s ‘spill’ of wrapped sweets selected and arranged by the curator of the art museum in which it is displayed. In Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through, this moment is protracted. It becomes both duration, the thing that varies time or stops it, and also a block of sensations that might be received by the reader and discharged by their own capacity to taste it too: ‘The candy was very sweet, and it was melting.’ T Fleischmann has written a book like this, one that is ‘spilled and gestured’ between radical others of many kinds. Is this love? Is this ‘the only chance to make of it an object’? Is this what it’s like to be here at all? To write ‘all words of life.’ And how intimate that is. A form of social privacy. Fleischmann: ‘But maybe that’s okay. Even when imagining takes us away, it still begins with what’s already here.’ Yes. It feels like that. It does.”
“Interspersing frank personal narrative with lyrical, line-broken passages from an unfinished meditation on Felix González-Torres, Fleischmann offers up pearls, pills, candies, and miniature portraits of their friends and lovers in acts of generosity that are self-questioning but never self-doubting. Rather, it’s the notion of a unified self itself that splits and spills across these pages with honesty, empathy, and often stunning delicacy.”