This exhibition of new sculpture and etchings has developed within the context of the comic strip and the animated film. There are bronze heads inspired by the character of “Boy”, etchings that bring scenes to life, characters that cinematically move in the background, like the omnipresent palm trees that take on a definite physical form. In spite of this close relationship to the script, the statues give no hint of a narrative. They comply with the many preconceptions relating to figurative art: they are recognisable and expressive forms, but they stay silent.
As ever, the new statues by Peter Rogiers deal with the “madness” resulting from the juxtaposition of “multiplicity” and “balance”. Again, he is not concerned with varying or further developing a solution he has already discovered, but continues his search for new, more contrasting approaches. These recent statues give while they take, always leading to a dialogue: they are expressionistic in form but lack the most expressive body parts: heads and hands; they contain certain baroque influences but are in themselves closed and private; they are tragicomic and suggest movement but remain emotionally restrained; they have a real/unreal relationship with their pedestals and shroud themselves in greyness. This subtle balance is a result of the repeated questioning by Rogiers of the meaning, or stronger still, the meaningless of the statue. Although he acknowledges the ironic perspective and standpoint of many of his contemporaries, he has retained a true belief and instinct towards plasticity. Eclecticism is for Rogiers not a form of irony but a free search for clarity, just as each statue is born out of the immediate pleasure of intuitively working with materials, of thinking with fingers.
The etchings in the exhibition have the same autonomous character as the sculpture. In contrast to traditional sketches by sculptors, that faithfully record the form of a finished piece, these etchings do not mirror the sculpture surrounding them. Rather, they evoke an identical atmosphere on equal terms and show evidence of the same expressive concerns and techniques.
As an introduction to the exhibition, Peter Rogiers is showing a selection of drawings from “Creator” on the first floor of the gallery.Josephine Pryde
It's been a while since Carl Andre said about Frank Stella's painting that it was not symbolic but that his stripes were the paintbrush's paths on the canvas that did not lead anywhere except into painting.
The idea that reduction could lead to an end or even a solution, either with respect to the material properties of the medium or as an immaterial concept, has itself come to an end. But the problems remain: There are still no definite answers regarding the complex relations between representation, medium, and artistic concept. In the case of photography, this is even more evident than in other media.
In the early days, the possibilities of the new medium put the reproduction of some reality into question, and as a consequence, the medium was used for technical experiments (multiple exposure, solarization, photogramme etc.). A crucial feature about such strategies is that the process of simulation always remains visible and explicit. Unusual perspectives or close-ups always remind us that the medium is not just a transparent transmitter of images but opens up completely new ways of visual perception and understanding. By and large, such properties of the medium have been lost through its history.
By the end of the twentieth century, photography in the arts is either used as a tool for documentation as a concept, or as an excuse to mimic historicist and representational painting and as such serve a questionable nineteenth century nostalgia.
In her work, young British artist Josephine Pryde deals with the specific characteristics of the medium again, but naturally from a perspective different from the early days of modernism. The technical experiments and distortions become part of a conceptual meta-level, formal properties of early photography enter her work with all their historic loadedness and are as such also commentaries on later developments and newer media. At a first glance, the photos in this exhibition remind us about the tight connections between science and photography in the early days, but the depicted simulation is itself a simulation.
The evaporation of the chemical substance in the image is in a referential relation with the chemical process of developing the film and the print. The properties of the medium and the content of the image are bound tight together and become inseparable. The subjective view is reflected back from the artist's eye to the medium.
In a series of older works, a 2 cylinder engine is depicted from a very close angle but there is a spot in the middle distorting the view on the object. Again, there is no fixed point of reference in the work but the artist builds up a complex relation between her perspective, the technical instrument and physical and chemical processes. There is no possibility of reduction, be it one way or the other, since reduction would lead to a static work. Any resulting purity or clarity would be merely apparent, and blur the dynamics of complex interactions between material objects and our minds. 'The Kiss of the Muse' does not produce frozen moments but an art that expands over time.
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