Virginie Barré John Bjerklie Edith Dekyndt Simon Faithfull Tim Laun Patrick Martinez Bruno Peinado Joyce Pensato Fabien Verschaere Gerard Williams
It’s a pleasure to be showing again so many works that we really admire, like Simon Faithfull’s video, Escape Vehicle #6. A chair is attached to a meteorological balloon equipped with a camera filming the chair and beaming the images back to earth. The chair reaches the edge of space and disintegrates. The success of this unexpectedly moving work, relies on our identification with the chair through its strong association with the human body. New debate surrounds the work today due to a controversial remake of the piece, against the artist’s wishes, for a Toshiba advertizing campaign. A different take on image rights has frequently hovered over Tim Laun’s work, due to the artist’s use of images of sports personalities. In his Favre Era Cyclorama Project Laun imagined over 200 TV monitors simultaneously showing all the games of the historic streak of the Green Bay Packer’s cult quarterback, Brett Favre.
Bruno Peinado first came to prominence in part due to the Michelin corporation’s vigorous objection to his controversial work, Black Bibendum. For the current exhibition we are presenting Big Bang from the 2009 solo show of that name. This will admittedly be a smaller version of the installation in which a tiny resin sculpture represents the explosive beginning of the Universe. The idea it projects seems to take over the gallery space and the world beyond. In Edith Dekyndt’s often discreet works, modest materials and actions can similarly suggest parallels on a cosmic scale. In her video piece Martial M, the curious action of hands repetitively breaking apart and pushing together the particles of a lump of magnetized iron filings, easily provoke such metaphoric thoughts. Patrick Martinez often explores notions of matter and anti-matter in his diverse practices, including drawing, video, sculpture and installation. His recent laser-cut “drawings” use digital technology to burn away tiny slices of paper until intricate patterning is composed of almost more negative space (holes) than paper. Issues of cosmic metaphor, matter and anti-matter, even controversy surrounding the use of particular images are all evoked in Martinez’ video piece, The Jesuses. Here, reproductions of crucifixion paintings become stills for an animation piece, in which the resulting dancelike movements make a work that is both beautiful and unsettling. Nudging the deeply familiar towards a new realm of inquiry that heightens our awareness of the physicality and presence of things is often a powerful tool in the hands of artists.
In his solo exhibition Fictional Neighbors in the spring of 2007, Gerard Williams presented a new series of actual “windows”, dressed with fictional detail and inset in the gallery walls. Conditioned to know that space exists behind windows, the work created a strange awareness of phantom space. A similar trompe-l’oeil experience came from Virginie Barré’s Bauhaus mannequins from her 2006 exhibition. The artist sets up an audacious dialogue between the respectively purist mindsets of Native American thought and Bauhaus architecture and design. Her installation included the uncanny presence of mannequins representing Native American figures wrapped in military blankets decorated with Bauhaus designs. John Bjerklie’s form of fictional super-reality sees a kind of schizophrenic role play where two contrasting artists (Hothead and Coolhead) are in constant confrontation while making performances, paintings, sculpture and video in which they may also be the subject. Just as two of our Associate Directors moved on to greater things, this can happen to artists too, and this exhibition includes two artists whose work we no longer represent. As chance would have it, both are “figurative” painters, though those questions of matter and metaphor, irony and symbolism are never far away. We are delighted to be able to show once again the work of Joyce Pensato and Fabien Verschaere.