Fallen into Chaos & Order
`Chaos always defeats order because it is better organized.´ (Terry Pratchett)
Hamish Morrison Galerie is pleased to present the first group show in its new space in Friedrichstrasse, showing works by various artists of the gallery, as well as by guests.
To this day, the question of the relationship between chaos and order concerns humanity, with scholars of various disciplines, from psychology to physics, devoting themselves to exploring this issue.
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod called the original state of the world chaos. Chaos stands for an unlimited void. However, this void is not actually empty: rather, it contains creative potential. According to Greek mythology, Gaia, the earth and Eros, love, emerged from the endless vast emptiness. Chaos’s counterpart is cosmos, the order of the world as an harmonic unit.
It is possible to regard chaos and order as opposites, to view chaos as the cause of order, or accept them in their mutuality as a condition of one another. Whichever the case, chaos and order, by virtue of their duality, have a power capable of generating artistic and creative processes.
So what role does the tension or balance between chaos and order play in the entropic situation of art? Why do we like looking at something? What degree of order actually impedes our attention? Are we attracted by symmetry, or do we seek out imperfection, or something unexpected, moving?
In the work `Untitled´ for example, by the Dutch artist Han Schuil (born in 1958): an aluminium box, painted in shades of grey and black, with fields pieced together in the manner of a jigsaw puzzle, which, with their delicate white edges and their colours, seem clearly separated from one another. But on closer inspection, we discover in some areas very small triangles in various colours. These tiny polygonal shapes seem to people the edges like small escapes from the main visual structure. Furthermore, after the aluminium box has been painted, the artist has deformed the box, causing a variety of changes. The representation itself alters through the denting of the surface, and its three-dimensionality, particularly through the play of light on the painting, becomes more apparent.
In the drawings by Frank Badur (born in 1944 in Germany), we are first of all struck by the apparently strict order. We see in addition to geometric colour fields grid-like pencil lines on the paper. The perceived order of the lines, drawn with a ruler, is relativised in an interesting way once we notice the lines drawn by hand, which create a moving tension which however fits harmonically into the whole.
Similar to Badur’s drawings, in the collages entitled `Diary Sheets by the Islander Jon Laxdal (born in 1959) order seems to rule when we perceive a square of letters or lines of words in Arabic, one below the other. On closer examination, however, we realize that the single letters do not form words, and the Arabic words were cut out individually, rearranged, and thus taken from their original context. The content is removed or can no longer be grasped, and the signs seem to serve only as a graphic element in the order of the image’s structure. However, not just aesthetic or formal aspects are relevant here. Laxdal engages deeply with the meaning of his various sources or templates, and in this respect, the unordered compositions still have a link to the original, in spite of or perhaps indeed because of their abstraction.
Ronald de Bloeme (born in 1971, NL) works with imagery that is transferred into a different context: he uses sign systems and visual templates that are part of today’s consumer culture. The original material is alienated and transformed into new structures. The communication mechanisms which are omnipresent today, and which can indeed be perceived as a form of chaos, are subjected to a reordering and reinterpretation. In de Bloeme’s large-format painting `Not to be Reproduced II´, which seems almost like a collage, openings in various formations reveal underneath the black paint colour fields in white, gold, neon-orange and olive-green. The superimposition of various layers does not just result in a kind of game of hide and seek, the original material is also in a way censored by the dominant black paint. Additionally, the reflection in the smooth black varnish adds an erratic element to the composition of the colour fields.
In Judy Millar’s (born in 1957, NZ) paintings, on the other hand, we clearly see frenetic markings out of a background of rhythmically brushed paint. After the paint has been applied, the artist scratches it off or smudges it with her hands or a spatula. Within the painting, we can sense the tension, energy, and physicality: the action is transported. In spite of the seemingly undirected movement that appears to be reflected in the paintings, layers of painterly flow superimposed on one another, Millar actually proceeds in a very controlled manner and in this way creates works characterised by an enchanting dynamism, works that enter into contact with the beholder.
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