Bas van den Hurk “Once Upon a Time You Dressed so Fine” at Rod Barton, London
Rod Barton, London is pleased to present Bas van den Hurk Once Upon a Time You Dressed so Fine. In attempts to frame the artist’s idiosyncratic, multifaceted, and dynamic practice, the gallery itself will become invaded. Like a film still framing a slice of a scene, the room is an active environment frozen momentarily from the trajectory of experimentation and assembly; the exhibition offers a glimpse into a world created by van den Hurk and his collaborators.
Vibrating between painting, fashion, sculpture, installation, architecture and performance, van den Hurk’s work addresses the act of making in it’s numerous forms. Every configuration is considered and is part of the cohesive whole; from the placement of an object to the arrangement on the floor, from isolation of a pigment on the stretched paintings hung on the back wall, to a piece of silk fabric patch-worked and sewn into the collaborative, handmade suits and dresses hung flag like, protruding near the entrance. The opaque glass wall angled through the centre of the space divides and creates intimacy with the objects while simultaneously allows one to look through, to move around and find new vantage points providing additional layers.
Although actually comprised of static objects, the exhibition harnesses a movement or energy that is never quite still. Perhaps here one can note the first instance of transitivity, an influential term borrowed from David Joselit’s ‘Painting Beside Itself’, which describes the ability of ‘expressing an action which passes over to an object’. Quite literally, in this exhibition the individual works hold references and traces of one another, such as the bottles filled with fabric dye used in the production of the paintings.
On another level, these images and objects hold traces of their production, they become individual subjects separate from the artist upon which one can move through, walk around, and look at. Yet are they ever fully autonomous? Or rather are they inherently situated within networks of histories, temporalities, locations, and materials? photographed and uploaded into yet another strata of display and exchange? If one can, even momentarily, regard the artworks themselves as independent agents, then both the viewer and the maker have a sense of shared ownership, everyone can view or bear witness once they are made part of an exhibition. In effect part of the artwork then is transferred into, through, onto, and then back out of each of us. Much like the title of the exhibition Once Upon a Time You Dressed so Fine, was borrowed from a collective memory of a Bob Dylan song from another place and time, the artworks and the exhibition mix, generate, move and pass, and become logged within each encounter.
until 26 April 2014
Bas van den Hurk, “Once Upon a Time You Dressed so Fine” installation view at Rod Barton, London, 2014
Courtesy: the artist and Rod Barton, London.