Fellowship, A4 black and white printed paper, 6 color little sticks, 2013-2016

In Kafka’s short story Fellowship, five people appear to enjoy being a group, but when a sixth person hopes to join, he is refused admittance: it is a parable about the paradox of being a group, a community, where someone is always left out.

So I printed this story on six identical pages and put it in a row, with the sixth page a bit far than the other.


We are five friends; one day we came out of a house one after the other; first one came and placed himself beside the gate, then the second came, or rather he glided through the gate like a little ball of quicksilver, and placed himself near the first one, then came the third, then the fourth, then the fifth. Finally we all stood in a row. People bagan to notice us; they pointed at us and said: those five just came out of that house. Since then we have been living together; it would be a peaceful life if it weren’t for a sixth one continually trying to interfere. He doesn’t do us any harm, but he annoys us, and that is harm enough; why does he intrude where he is not wanted? We don’t know him and don’t want him to join us. There was a time, of course, when the five of us did not know one another, either; and it could be said that we still don’t know one another, but what is possible and can be tolerated by the five of us is not possible and cannot be tolerated with this sixth one. In any case, we are five and don’t want to be six. And what is the point of this continual being together anyhow? It is also pointless for the five of us, but here we are together and remain together; a new combination, however, we do not want, just because of our experiences. But how is one to make all clear to the sixth one? Long explanations would almost amount to accepting him in our circle, so we prefer not to explain and not to accept him. No matter how he pouts his lips we push him away with our elbows, but however much we push him away, back he comes. (translated by Tania and James Stern)

Initially conceived for the exhibition Should I stay or should I go? (Sincresis Contemporary Art, Empoli, 2013) as a wall installation, in 2016 the printed pages were hosted in the public library of Suzzara (during the 49th Suzzara Prize), while six little sticks of different colors spreading all over streets and places of this little town.


This story is also the point of departure for the sound installation project COMUNIDAD – O como distinguir los pistachos, developed for the Biennal de Mislata Miquel Navarro.