On the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, Angel Vergara is invited by Axel Vervoordt Gallery to present his most recent work. Inspired by the city, the artist’s newest video installation Landscape will be on view in our Hong Kong gallery from March 21 until May 12.
The work of Angel Vergara (°1958, Spain) is a continued research into the power of the image. By means of performance, videos, installations and paintings he questions the way images shape our reality. Every work is an attempt to break through the image and to make its impact surface on an aesthetic as well as socio-cultural and political level. His mediation and transformation of images is also a questioning of his position as an artist. How can he expose and fill the gap between what is real and what is art? How can he make reality enter art and art enter back into reality?
In spite of the opacity of that gap and these artistic questions, Vergara’s work is transparent – physically as well as conceptually. The transparent supports on which he paints allow the outside world to become a part of the painting. Reality is literally reflected and projected on the painting. Its fleetingness is captured by the artist and concentrated into a gesture, a stroke of paint. Vergara’s paintings hide nothing. There is no denial of their making process; there are no hidden meanings beneath their surface. Though parting from (the image of) reality, his newly created images become autonomous objects that break through the ready-made narrative of their referents. They are open to new interpretations and to new modes of signification.
Vergara’s paintings comment on the abundance of images that are continually forced upon us and that block the psychological mechanisms by which we shape our own reality. The plenitude and the speed of the contemporary image makes it almost impossible to distinguish between fiction and reality. Our memory is polluted. Vergara’s image slows down the speed of the contemporary image to the time of painting. For a brief moment it freezes the flux and encourages the viewer to again take on a critical position towards the image as a referent of reality.
In the fall of 2015, the artist travelled to Hong Kong to create his work Landscape for his solo exhibition at Axel Vervoordt Gallery. A seven-minute video loop is shown in the shape of a two and a half by three meter LED wall. Vergara chose to film and overpaint two opposing views. The first plunges from the Victoria Peak panorama into the bay and faces Kowloon and the Chinese continent. The second is planted in Kowloon and overlooks Hong Kong Island. Whereas the first is predominated by a Chinese strawberry tree, fog, clouds, air movements and ghostly apparitions as a dragon, the second is particularly occupied by the Peak and the sky, the wind, the water and its currents, and the foggy apparition of a boat. Both show electrical lights in the night. Just as the liquid paint highlights the fluid clouds and water, the respiration-like pace of the montage accentuates the flowing of the wind; his painting and editing mirror the constituting elements of the landscape.
The video work of Vergara is full of contrasts and continuously alternates between opposites: between the antique and tactile act of painting and its digital registration and presentation; between abstraction and figuration; between a painting mounted as a film and a film mounted as a painting; between the time-shaped appearance of a landscape and its contemporary state; between a bird’s-eye and a worm’s-eye view; and between day and night.
Also in Hong Kong and coinciding with Art Central and Art Basel Hong Kong, The Landmark hosts ‘Be Inspired’, an exhibition running from March 21 until April 4, Angel Vergara being one of the participating artists.