The photoshop-polished aesthetic of Aiden Morse’s (AU, 1994) photographs distances them from the photographic vernacular. Instead of representations of the real, Morse’s photographs are a tribute to the slippery and seductive power of images. The images are often linked to concepts such as the uncanny and lifelessness. They are autobiographical, although at the same time they are clearly constructed. The works presented for Summer Hang stem from an interest in documentary photography, specifically in that of ufo activity. Morse refers to this in the titles of his works, all inspired by reports of extra-terrestrial activity. Strange Ground Indentation (2016) and Mean Look (2015) both display the recognisable but somehow isolated imagery which has become a characteristic of Morse’s photographs.
Anneke Eussen (NL, 1978) creates assemblages that appear silent; there is neither spectacle nor entertainment. The works whisper about how things connect, become one, find their place and are never incomplete. . Eussen’s steadfast exploration of the “space in between” control and disorder has gradually turned this moment into an existing reality. These works are a continuous development. Foldable Past (2013) is based on the façade of the ‘Tränenpalast’ in Berlin. The sculpture shows two windows connected by hinges which make it possible to install it in three different ways (open, closed, free-standing). With this change of form Eussen refers to the different options to archive the past. ‘Tränenpalast’ was the metro station connecting the former East- and West-Berlin. Between 1961 and 1989 the East-German citizen had to say goodbye to their West-German visitors. Today, the building is a museum. ‘Foldable Past’ shows how different the appearance of a building can become just by handling it in another way.
Audrey Cottin’s (FR, 1984) practice exists in the form of extensive multidisciplinary collaborations which share the comfort and uneasiness of being in the company of people who keep this world as a continuous creative experiment. Inspired by Robert Filliou’s belief that “everybody is perfect”, Cottin has been searching for a perfect collaboration with people she encounters. This search may include experts of various knowledges, skills and perspectives. The methods of co-working are often defined by what kind of resonance is created between those people and Cottin herself. The works from the series Map (Deborah Van Acker) (2013) for example, are the result of a direct collaboration between Cottin and painter and fellow represented artist Philippe Van Snick.
Chiara Fumai (IT, 1978) is an Italian artist known for her performative and multi-media works featuring psychic abilities, anti-spectacle strategies and counterculture icons. One of the works in the exhibition, entitled I’m a junkie (2007), features the artist who, in the middle of a Greek field, dressed in traditional clothes, fakes a performance by stealing the words of 1930s singer Roza Eskenazi. The angelic song “Eimai Prezakias” (I’m a Junkie) speaks of the beauty and happiness to be found in a drug-addicted life. In 1936, the Greek government banned the audiotrack used in this video. Years later however, it is now considered part of the National Artistic Patrimony.
Clive Hodgson (UK, 1953) makes paintings in which he takes up ideas about painting itself, in terms of its structures, techniques and effects. His forms and marks feel impulsive yet locked in by virtue of their gestural authority. His working method is intuitive and seeks freedom from restrictions and formulae. In his most recent work ambiguous shapes often simultaneously suggest abstract and domestic motifs. In the triptych Untitled (2016) one reads a repeated action across the front of three unnaturally coloured canvases, with the reoccuring motif of the artist’s signature and the date of making; The action reads the same, but displays flickers of variation and unites the paintings as repeated activity within a largely varied yet holistic practice.
The art practice of Derek Sullivan (CA, 1976) plays with all the elements and borders that are related to books. The immense influence on history and culture that books can have often detracts from the physical and conceptual properties of reading them. He questions the shape of them, but also the thought process from which writing can originate. The drawings from the series Young Americans (2011) play with abstract, graphic patterns, which can be seen as pages of an imaginary book. The patterns are based on the eponymous exhibition catalogues from MOMA (New York). They are related to the new Poster Drawings, which appear to be much more fragmented, in a stage of development. Some mental assembly is required.
Dieter Ravyts (BE, 1988) accepts that, when calling oneself a painter, one has to bear the burden of the conventions which have accumulated throughout many centuries of painting history. Ravyts takes on this challenge and uses it as a starting point for his artistic research. To be able to create is to accept the imperfections that may arise during the transformation from idea to concrete reality. In the ongoing series Tube Paintings Ravyts questions the physical nature of paint. These paintings are made of thin strands of oil paint squeezed out of the tube directly upon the canvas. The mechanically perfect, but unnatural shape of the squeezed paint is left untouched and becomes a readymade as such. These paintings are the product of a human material subjected to an imperfect mechanical application. The role of the artist still slips through.
Sculptures from the Europeana series (2017) of Henning Hamilton (SE, 1987) are composed of pieces of debris, which have washed ashore on the coasts of the tiny Swedish island Kalvö. These timeless, majestic and somehow unified pieces of debris show a history, a specific story between an encounter between the artist, the sea and, most importantly, fate.. In the hands of Hamilton the components, once brought together through coincidence, are now combined consciously through their material and aesthetic properties. The beauty of these works, however, conveys a darker subtext; that our relationship to the environment will leave its permanent mark, not necessarily for the better.
Looking at the mystic paintings of John Finneran (US, 1979) we enter a dreamlike state of being. Finneran says of his own practice “At work, I’m mostly pushing myself to be in a place where I don’t have any answers. Hopefully to learn something about what I’m feeling, or to see what I’m doing without judging it simultaneously. I love that disarming feeling of concentrating on your own eye in the mirror or looking directly into someone else’s eyes. I’m interested in the mysticism of not knowing anything”. In Spirits Looking At The Sea (2015), Finneran has painted female figures which stand or recline in an abstracted, painterly scene. The painting initially feels weighty and historical. Ultimately, the lightness in painterly touch and porosity of Finneran’s pastel colour palette allows the painting to ebb and flow between the representational and the purely sensory.
Lisa Vlaemminck (BE, 1992) paints extraordinary still lifes that combine exoticism with the rawness of the earth. She chooses neglected objects on the basis of pure attraction and places them within a new reality that supersedes the banality of their everyday appearance. Vlaemminck ignores any hierarchy or perspective in the composition of the painting, making the air in her paintings equally tangible as the soil, the colours as equally tangible as the air. She tests the gradient painting technique to the limits and creates a strange object world full of juxtapositions. There is both material and spatial density, an infinite depth which bubbles to the surface of the painting in the form of juicy paint and sharp, luscious imagery, becoming soulful and animated. The primal melancholy of a dreary plant goes into dialogue with the aesthetics of a strip club from the eighties.
The earlier work of Marijke De Roover (BE, 1990) focuses on the meaning of identities and the performative aspect of its creation. TRCAUDIT (2013) deals with admiration and the idea of becoming famous or recognized through social media.
It plays with the idea of the youtube cover as a carreer choice. In this short video, De Roover mimics an audition for Ryan Trecartin by adapting specific charactristics of his work while all the way staying true to her own created persona/identity. The main goal of getting Trecartins attention on social media was succesfully met when he liked the video on Vimeo shortly after it got posted. With HOW TO: Science Baby #1 (2017) De Roover kicks of a project dealing with norm, ethics, choice and the concept of the Nuclear Family though her own experience of trying to conceive. It is the first work relating to these subjects and functions as a teaser for her upcoming solo at the gallery titled: House of Prosperity & Flexibility.
Sampling from a multitude of sources Michael Pybus (UK, 1982) reimagines contemporary culture by remixing the icons, brands and franchises which permeate our lives. The artist explores the ‘ flattening’ out of history into an eternal present that is accelerated by our increasingly virtual environment. He creates ‘Frankenstein’ hybrids which appear reassuringly familiar yet decidedly warped. Pybus’ Kick! series (2017) sees context and genre collapse into parallel worlds where you find references to Warhol’s Camouflage paintings rubbing up against Pikachu and other pouplar video game icons. Pybus openly acknowledges the gallery as a high end commercial space where artworks such as paintings are approached as luxury goods used as backdrops to his installations that take the form of mass consumer merchandising. Pybus drags pre-existing non-art readymades such as handbags and shoes into the context of the artwork not as a subject of criticism, but as a way of drawing parallels between both worlds.
In his 2002 catalogue about Michael Ross (US, 1953) curator Jan Hoet praised the artist as a ‘pioneer of the subversive small gesture’. For almost two decades Michael Ross has shied away from the grandiloquent artistic roar to devote himself to the creation of a universe the size of an inch, a universe made of ripples rather than of tsunamis. Small though his works may be, as full- edged architectural and robust sculptures they are firmly burrowed into the wall. The artist’s purposeful choice of materials belies his minute attention to detail. Michael Ross has a preference for metals, fluorescent plastics, luminescent paper or tactile fabrics - materials which enhance the surface of the sculpture and gives way to light. The formal modesty of the work does not restrain the artist from positioning himself in a larger conceptual and art historical frame.
Philippe Van Snick’s (BE, 1946) ever expansive relationship with the Post-Modern spans five decades and continues to tread new ground today. In the 1970s, Van Snick developed an interest in systematic methodologies that lead him to formulate a consistent colour and numeral system. This has allowed him to create a steady body of work where notions of day and night, time and human experience are interpreted through our perception of colour, light and space. In the series Boulders, Borders and Bodies (2017) Van Snick explores the autonomy of simplified forms, which float and meander across the canvas. The reference to the boundary edge alludes to this moment where life merges seemlessly in art.
The paintings of Veronika Pausova (CZ, 1987) have an uncomfortable attraction. With their precise visual vocabulary Pausova’s small scale paintings often engage in pictorial games that play with the thin line between reality and its perception. Shifting the meaning of her characters from one painting to the next, Pausova describes her approach as ‘mathematical surrealism’. In these seemingly disjointed environments, familiar forms such as fish & flowers appear as motifs that question our interpretation of reality and how much information is required to elicit a story. The same character can be used for many different stories, with different ‘outfits’ or ‘choreographies’. Pausova translates her interest in narrative to the way she applies paint. Each texture is evidence of a decision made, of a new story developing. By starting to use oil paint instead of acrylic in the recent paintings, Pausova has allowed herself to experiment with new techniques, like scratching, sanding and layering. The materiality of paint as well as the choices of colour, surface treatment, and pattern become part of the conceptual construction of the work. Combined with precise depictions of recognizable elements, these various strategies open up Pausova’s canvases to an otherworldly realm that is full of possibilities.