Todd Narbey — Half Past No Return


Lithography / engraving, painting

Todd Narbey
Half Past No Return

Past: May 11 → June 9, 2012

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17).

If, only a little over a century ago, whales were still considered the most terrifying of all sea monsters — portrayed as the great fish that swallowed Jonah, or as the terrible Moby Dick pursuing, in hatred, Captain Ahab — today they are nothing but the shadows of the monsters they once were.

Living trophies of the omnipotence of economy, worth only as much as the bloodthirsty greed of man — the survival of the whales balances on the whim of a handful of scientists who, to save them — in the name of the same logic that permits their massive extermination — can only ask this question: What is the survival of these mammals worth? How much effort are we ready to expend (we, the citizen-consumers) to save the whales?

Here, faced with such a question — whose cynicism is matched by its cruelty — is where the work of Todd Narbey responds: rather than trying to measure the value of the whale species, to attribute to it, in the great chessboard of diversity, an appraisal, shouldn’t the imminence of their extinction teach us that it is our very own value system that is at fault, that it is this convention we must attack? For if, as is suggested by a painting such as And then there will be none and as Japan proves everyday, the scientific study of whales — learning to manage their biological life-cycle as if managing stocks — is worthless to their survival, what is left for us to do but side with Buddhist spirituality that, since the sixth century, in Korea, succeeded in stopping completely — in the name of a certain vision of man and création — the hunting of these mammals?

For it is clear that if we turn the monster that ate Jonah into a creature that must be consumed/protected, we not only deprive our civilization of the mythical possibility to voyage into the shadow of this monster, we also eliminate the opportunity to understand that Jonah, defying the commandments of God while trying to escape his judgement, did nothing but escape himself, in an attempt to evade his inner voice that echoed in his soul: do not kill the one who resembles you, but accept the possibility that it may be you who is wrong.

Frédéric-Charles Baitinger — Traduction : Cassandra Katsiaficas
  • Opening Thursday, May 10, 2012 6 PM → 9 PM
13 Jeanette Mariani Gallery Gallery
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36, rue du Mont Thabor

75001 Paris

T. 01 40 15 02 80


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Todd Narbey