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Embodied Landscape

GALERIE KARSTEN GREVE PARIS CÔTÉ RUE

"Gideon Rubin, Georgia Russell, Sergio Vega, Lawrence Carroll, Ma Jun and Thomas Brummett"
26. Januar - 27. Februar 2019
 

How to embody nature’s might, its energy? How to describe the connections between body and landscape? How to represent human’s feeling towards the mystery of the universe? These are some of the issues stressed by the six artists presented in this show. Using photography, drawing, sculpture and painting they try to give a physical substance to the movements of the water in the riverbed, to the melancholy of the sea waves in wintertime, to the greatness of the forest’s trees, to the organized chaos of constellations, to the animate energies trembling in humans’ bodies.

 

Lawrence Carroll (Melbourne, Australia, 1954)
Lawrence Carroll’s paintings are more like painted objects than canvases in their traditional two-dimensional sense. The work cannot be approached in its entirety from a frontal standpoint as its composition and structure conceal several levels of readings. They are closer to being painterly constructions in which Lawrence Carroll integrates objects, either within the structure of the work or on the surface. The latter are comprised of inlays and layers that create a surface architecture of forms that are cobbled together or “repaired”, as the artist likes to say. Lawrence Carroll spent over a decade drawing water with his eyes closed. This practice taught him to observe its movements with his inner eye, so that his drawings are not the fruit of his gaze but rather the reflection of a memoryscape. The Black Mirror Paintings are a result of this method of abstraction, where all that remains are the bare bones of gesture, line, and colour.  Black paint is scratched with a scalpel to form vague yet irrevocable marks. The movement of water is translated by the artist to represent life, where everything is fragile and subject to transformation. The frame, too, is broken, no longer defining the limits of the work. It is an offspring of a process which is, as so often is the case in Carroll's work, a creative force. Like living beings, the works bear the scars of their own survival.

Sergio Vega (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1959)
Impressed by social and politic issues, in which irony plays a role of counterpoint in some instances, the projects of the Argentine photographer Sergio Vega stem from a reflection both intellectual and formal. With a plentiful source of inspiration that he often finds in the literature, Vega is highly proficient in the original and modern photographic techniques as well as video.
Since 1995 Sergio Vega has been working on a large project titled El Paraíso en el Nuevo Mundo. The project is based on Antonio de Leon Pinelo’s theory (17th century) according to which the Garden of Eden exists and is to be found in South America. Vega’s research lead him to Mato Grosso, in Brazil, where he went to work on this idea of the heaven on earth, and see how this supposed Garden of Eden look like in reality. We are showing here a selection of photographs from the series Inside the forest, in which the artist bears witness to the ambiguity of a stunning but treacherous nature. In this environment men are stricken by a luxurious flora, yet obsessed by the fear of getting lost in it. In these works one can feel the herbal density where leaves pop out from the deep dark spots of Vega’s printing technique, illuminated by spare sun rays, thus giving a particular tridimensional feeling to the works.

 

Thomas Brummett (Colorado, USA, 1955)
Inspired by the arid deserts and the soaring mountains of Colorado, the American photographer Thomas Brummett started his quest for the essence of nature. After having studied ceramics and photography, he got interested in Oriental monastic traditions, such as Taoism and Buddhism, which open the way for an intense observation of the world as well as for a cosmic exploration. Such a mix of meditative practices and photographic sciences is the thread running through Brummett’s work as part of the Rethinking the Natural project. This ongoing project is composed by different series of works, between them Mille Solis, shown here for the first time. By superposing images of lights, plants and constellations this series tries to understand how light and cosmos work, thus creating a mysterious sense of depth.

Ma Jun (Qingdao, China, 1974)
Under the influence of the cultural and economic impacts of China’s opening up to the global market, Ma Jun presents the New China series (begun in 2005), a hybrid between traditional Chinese motifs and characteristic objects of Capitalism. This is how radios, televisions, tape recorders or Coca-Cola bottles are transformed into the porcelain decorated with motifs from the Chinese pictorial tradition, such as clouds, butterflies, flowers, birds or even forests. Ma Jun adopts the styles and the subjects that influenced European ceramics from the 18th century, – which created what is still called today “Chinoiseries” – using the ceramic technique of Jindezhen, named after the main center of Chinese porcelain since the 14th century. Ma Jun exploits the contrast between the high qualified craftsmanship of the Qing Dynasty and the symbolic forms and objects of serial production in the context of global capitalism. The sculptures in the show are particularly focused on the use of natural patterns, thus confronting the beauty of nature as celebrated in Chinese culture, and the environmental destruction caused by mass production.

Georgia Russell (Elgin, Scotland, 1974)
Georgia Russell works with surgical precision, the clinical scalpel turned into an artist’s tool. With delicate gestures, she cuts her sculptural paper or canvas works questioning the traditional bi-dimensional space of painting. Her work thus becomes at the same time painting and sculpture, image and origin of the images, cut and sign. An organized chaos is put in shape, and a vortex of vibrating colors is constructed by the subtle language of splits. The work of Georgia Russell is in constant dialogue with nature: the changing color of the sea, the shadows of the daylight or the waving of the trees are a big source of inspiration. The cutout work of the canvas invites the viewer to move around the pieces and see them from different perspectives, generating each time a new perception, like a window open towards the world.

Gideon Rubin (Tel Aviv, Israel, 1973)
Gideon Rubin’s faceless portraits are inspired by photographs from old photo albums, photos of celebrities as well as by old masters’ paintings. In examining this material, the artist is seeking the type of narrative that opens itself to interpretation. The artist’s figures are intended to trigger his viewers’ memories, rather than to represent specific identities. He wants the spectator to focus on the painting process, on the medium itself and on a few details, such as the subject’s posture or bearing. Gideon Rubin uses sandy tones, grey blues and off-whites that he applies with broad brushstrokes. He also sometimes uses a little touch of red to emphasise a particular detail. He prefers to work on canvas or raw linen and often leaves entire areas of these materials untouched so that they become an integral part of the work. He also paints on roughly-cut bits of cardboard, integrating motifs and letters already printed on the cardboard into his composition. The subtle colours used by the artist and the fact that he often reworks and repaints his works in several layers further emphasises his desire to resurrect forgotten lives. At this occasion we’re showing a selection of works in which the artist wants to find in his gesture the power of nature, as one can see in the strenght of the seascapes as well as in the shivering of almost naked bodies.
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