Peripheries brings together four artists that offer a new perspective on architectural spaces. Where lines, borders and walls meet, determines the social spaces that configure the mental and physical environments we inhabit. Architecture is one of our most visible and long-term forms of expression. It sits on a plane that is suspended between the arts, sciences, economics and many other diverse disciplines. Each artist in this show explores through their medium the construction of an environment or space and its identity, be it manmade or natural. By walking through the exhibition each work shifts the way we might look at space around us.
With architecture aesthetics and function are both equally at play. But it also has a duty to be responsible to people and its context. This is something Cecile van Hanja looks to analyze by seeking a balance between outer city life and her private space. Van Hanja, who graduated with an M.A. from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, transforms her photographic studies of urban space into canvases that exude another realm of colour, light, and atmosphere. Some of these architectural spaces are manipulated, corridors or staircases might be familiar but cannot be placed in a specific site or a certain time. Modern icons such as the German Pavilion in Barcelona are pared down and unpopulated. Thin layers of paint are applied in layers making these empty spaces ambiguous and translucent rather than impenetrable and solid as one automatically perceives buildings. Her striking palette coupled with sharp vanishing points and perspective lines remove the buildings from their original context and lead us deeper into imaginary vistas.
The work of Arnout Killian alludes to an equally mysterious spatial realm, often bordering on the eerie with an underlying psychological tension. His series of paintings of isolated bungalows, passages and angled interiors, with only a subtle hint of a presence of a person, provoke us to think about who occupies these architectural spaces and what life takes place in them. The polished execution and the stillness of his work offers up a slight uneasy strain of what is not there. His fascination with subjects drawn from the artificial and contemporary segments of culture creates a cinematic tension and the coolness of his palette only enhances this. Arnout received his M.A from the Rijksacademie and has exhibited extensively, with his recent solo exhibition at the Museum More, Enter the Void, in 2016.
By contrast the work of OSTER+KOEZLE, a painter and photographer collaborative, and London based Jemma Appleby, approach their studies of interiors with a more formalist approach. Dissecting the interiors of buildings and creating new perspectives and angles out of the existing space, OSTER+KOEZLE have worked together for over 15 years. Originally taking photographs of abandoned building and manipulating them with paint, they altered the meaning and the surface of the photograph so it became an abstract composition of vertical forms and color planes. Using digital picture processing to create a unique visual vocabulary they compose pictorial interventions of architectural interiors. By doing this they challenge the viewer ‘s visual understanding of classic architectural elements. The fragmentation of the original interior space does not allow us to seamlessly piece the fragments back together. The surface texture of a wall or a ceiling are often the only clue remaining to lead us back. This is the appealing and playful nature of their abstractions with their floating color fields in this show. OSTER+KOEZLE featured in the Dusseldorf Photo weekend in 2016 and have their first solo show at the Galerie Schmidt and Schutte in Cologne this January.
Like OSTER+KOEZLE, Jemma Appleby’s masterfully manipulates shade and tone, to disorient our normal perceptions of an interior. By zooming in on the architectural detail of a space such as a staircase or an arch, she amplifies the simplicity and beauty of line, and the interplay of light and shadow. Instead of creating an illusion of space, she creates patterns of elements in space. We are drawn to the surface by the polished perfection of the charcoal and jostling planes of geometric forms. These architectural forms dissolve to leave us with an idea, a memory, a reflection and a feeling of architecture. Jemma graduated from the City of Guilds of London Art School in 2009 with First Class Honours.
Exploring the experience of human space as constructed by architects and its relationship to us, its inhabitants, in subtly different but highly mastered individual techniques, is what unites these artists under the title of Peripheries. Each artist in their own way invites us to reflect on the identity of architectural space, how it feels, or flows and the ideas that surround it.