Writing




Uprising



 (image: http://meyer-ebrecht.com/Content/../Archive/News/BME2019_OJG_poster_web.jpg) The “Uprising” in the title of this show is first and foremost a literal and physical act. In the center of my show is a group of platforms which invite the viewer to climb on, offering the possibility of an elevated view. The term “uprising”, repeatedly came up while I was describing my new d the upwards movement in my new drawings. From the perspective of my practice, I could also describe an upheaval or uprising of color: the most colorful show to date.

The empty spaces in my ink drawings: in the past I have defined them as spaces, which the viewer desires to enter and which projects him or herself into. My new understanding is that the drawings, while evoking this desire to enter, actually eject the viewers from that space and put him squarely back into the actual space in front of the drawing: back into his or her world, in his or her time. In other words this process could be described as overcoming the trappings of nostalgia or false glorification of the past, in effect a small emancipatory uprising of its own.

This space, the viewer is finding him- or herself thrown back into while looking at the drawings, is also the same territory where the sculptures are located in. As usable objects they offer only minimal resistance to the viewer entering their space. This space is defined by two-dimensional fragmented geometric shapes and hand-painted colors as platform tops, and angular support structures holding these platforms up. The wooden structures emphasize the construction. Craft, design and problem solving are part of the process.

The viewer becomes a user of these sculptures. But what is their real use value? Most immediately they offer rest, elevation, a view from different perspective, possibly a space for social interaction. Yet, I see them as mostly only nominally functional. The sculptures are decidedly not furniture. They don't follow ergonomic concerns or are built for a specific space or function. From this perspective the viewer-user is rather a visitor-inhabitant, who temporarily enters the abstract space of the sculptures. This space is a constructed space, built in the ‘real world’ and still outside of it: a momentary utopian space.

Both bodies of work create conflate in someway ‘real’ and ‘utopian’ space. ‘Real space’ in the drawing is a historic space captured in a documentary image. In the drawing it is turned into an illusionistic space, which seemingly opens up behind the surface of paper. The new drawings have a heightened sense of physicality, both in the rawness of the process and in the choice of subject matter. The gaze moves up a set of stairs, surrounded by lush tropical plants. A tree like wooden pillar holds up an ominous dark ceiling. These drawings are monochromatic, with other colors shining through from underneath. Bright colors take on a life of their own. Bars of tape, that hold the drawings together, and drips of ink heighten the experience.

My source material is black-and-white photography, and by painting them in different colors I may want to free these images from their direct historic context. The drawings deal with the compelling yet implausible promise of modernity, that radical social changes could be made through design. Looking back at architectural space of that era to me always comes with the sense of loss and nostalgia already alluded to above. For me as an artist the idea of a connection of physical space and political ideas is extremely compelling, yet it is clear that this equation is no longer fully valid. In a way my drawing interrogate the nostalgic aura that physical space still holds for us, while most every significant social and political interaction has dematerialized into the meta-spaces of the internet. Ultimately it turns out that the space in my drawings consists of fragments, part fiction, and part collective memory, and part utopian dream. But my hope is to turn the space in front of the drawings into the actual space of the artwork: our arena.

April, 2019