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EXHIBITIONS

Gabriel Hartley and Roman Liška at Brand New Gallery, Milan

“Splays” refers to the idea of the spreading out and expansion of body parts. The concise titles chosen by Gabriel Hartley for his works allude to the possible interpretations of his pieces, only apparently consigned to an abstract existence, for the simple spontaneity with which they become associable to the physical surrounding environment which, however, seizes the surreal references. This title manifests and justifies the artist’s choice to literally display his works on the table-cloth like prints, laid out as if they were splayed on the scanner.

The exhibition is presented as an elaborate project, composed by canvases and sculptures conceived through a tight dialogue amongst the different components. Hartley’s works evoke identifiable forms and, in the same way, embrace features of abstractism. The artifacts placed on the plinths are realized with discarded polyurethane foam, of which the artist humanizes its pre-existing structure, fixing its traits though the use of resin and fiberglass. The final outcome recalls traditional materials of sculptural language, as stone and marble, and leaves the final, more or less pictorial coverage the task to accentuate its analogies. These primordial figures are arranged onto digital prints disposed to cover the bases, that reminisce their forms and intentions.

The prints result from the scanning of the crumpled up pieces of paper together with the same polyurethane foam used for the sculptures. The relationship between the so positioned works and the bases onto which they rest on inverts the creative process, inasmuch it recalls the scanner as a tool capable of producing a flat image of a sculptural form. The canvases on the walls evoke the same process, referencing the light produced by the same scanner. Hartley produces his works expressing himself through a strong and linear gestuality, that plays with space, restituting flat but at the same time thick surfaces.

The artist adopts a sculptural procedure also in his canvases, using a spray paint finishing that operates on the thick substrate of oil paint, weakening but at the same time reinforcing it. This process confers his paintings a distilled light adept to hide and reveal, staging the illusion of making the painted canvases look like printed ones. The monumental colored paper sculpture whose measures are inversely proportional to the lightness of the chosen material, wraps up the artist’s imaginary trip, who consciously accompanies the spectator in a crumpled dimension.

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at Brand New Gallery, Milan

until 18 May 2013

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Above – Gabriel Hartley, “Splays”, installation views, Brand New Gallery, Milan, 2013

Courtesy: Brand New Gallery, Milan

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Roman Liška “Gemini” at Brand New Gallery, Milan

“Gemini” implies a multiplicity of references that range from the most literal meaning of the term, to the association of metaphorical readings tied to the astrological interpretations relating to the intrinsic contradictions of this sign of the zodiac. According to Greek mythology, the Dioscuri achieved their immortality in differing ways; Castor as a demigod, Pollux as an undead, giving form to the constellation of the Gemini. The duality expressed in this myth is the fil rouge of the artist’s analysis, constituted by the repetition of pairs of works treated individually as an arrangement of unconventional diptychs, alike in chromaticity and surface.

Analyzing capitalist society and the art market, Roman Liška concentrates on the reciprocity of these themes. The title of the show gives direction to a precise objective that invites the spectator to read the cast bronze and aluminum sculptures from the classical context of figuration, in a vast trajectory that moves from antiquity to the limits of the contemporary, touching on various aspects: from aesthetics to craftsmanship, as well as politics.

Liška´s sculptures speak of iconoclasm, evoking the deteriorated statues of various rulers which have been demolished together with their respective regimes, and thus symbolizing the temporariness of dogmata in art as well as societies in general. Freely inspired by David Batchelor’s Chromophobia, the non-conventional placement of monochrome panels and their alter ego’s on the walls qualifies the exhibition space as a mere repository of objects, dropped into this conventional place in a transitory phase of existence. Through the geometric juxtaposition of black and white blocks, dominated by the textures that break through the immaculate surfaces, the artist drives his public into the minefield of the possible and the potential. The installation process is minutely studied and the pattern, borrowed from the artist’s motif, which conceals the gallery’s original flooring, together with a monitor playing a hyper-real macro vision of the show itself, act as disturbed perceptive channels, that restitute a distorted vision of reality, shifting the public’s assumptions, subject to a passive and captivating perception of the surrounding environment.

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at Brand New Gallery, Milan

until 18 May 2013

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Above – Roman Liška, “Gemini”, installation views, Brand New Gallery, Milan, 2013

Courtesy: Brand New Gallery, Milan

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