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By: Jonas Ranson
The following blog has acted as a pre cursor to the exhibition Celestial Contrakt which opened on the 12th November at Schwartz Gallery, Hackney Wick, and is now in it's fourth week. Curated by Christina Mitrentse and Jonas Ranson the show has brought together works by 10 National and International artist's. Schwartz projects are known for a series of strong and dynamic shows which have seen the introduction of a flexible exhibition-making strategy in line with current curatorial debate.
# 8 [1 November 2009]
Alex Bunn's work combines a role as producer; working with diverse groups of specialists, with his own artistic activity. Typically an artwork may necessarily draw on skills as diverse as radiography, prop-making, pyrotechnics, prosthetics, sculpture, haberdashery, electronics and cooking. Because of the often transient nature of the materials and occurrences, the results are usually displayed as staged photographs or custom-made illuminated cabinets. In broad terms, his thematic predilections are science, philosophy and Epicureanism. Fascinated with the converging paradigms of science, the supernatural, the superstitious and the absurd, his work meditates on the subjectivity of truth and its fluctuating points of reference. He uses science as a springboard for his imagination, discarding more formal representations to produce a body of work that playfully manipulates and transforms known objects to produce unsettling combinations. Through reclassification, and the rearrangement of order, he acknowledges scientific methods, but the results are more akin to that of a "mad Scientist" than the clean and precise methods of a modern technician. In an era of Biotechnological modification, his sculpture Quabrid imaginatively explores the reshaping of the human form. The bust is formed by using multiple high-resolution medical scan topography of different tissues of the body and is then fused with architectural components to create a unique hybrid portrait. Alex Bunn has recently exhibited at the Royal Institute of Great Britain, Candid Arts Trustand The Victoria & Albert Museum.
# 7 [29 October 2009]
Work in progress for Celestial Contrakt .
*Apotropaic ( Working title )
Screenprint on mirror
test October 2009
"Apotropaic" is an adjective that means "intended to ward off evil" or "averting or deflecting evil" and commonly refers to objects such as amulets or other symbols. The word is of Greek origin: apotrope literally means "turning away" or averting (as in "averting the evil eye"). The Greeks propitiated the chthonic "Gods of Aversion"—the apotropaioi.
# 6 [28 October 2009]
Achieved through treatment in both digital conversion and photographic silkscreen technique, Jonas Ranson’s compositions describe imagined algorithmic and structural ‘episodes’. Slyly garish black interstices, a representative veiling and distorting, the print works act as codes that signal an elegant mathematics and geometry that renders not merely objects or visual representations, but dynamic, responsive systems. Using permutations of iconographic and architectural languages, the structures take the form of totemic frieze. The style is characterized by a stripped-down, geometric structure of repetitive forms. There is an instinct for half-tone which attempts to bring balance and unity to the picture surface. This is the chief means of giving solidity to the forms and creating the fictive space. The successive planes, independents circuits which cancel each other out, contradict each other. The work simultaneously constitutes the layers of one and the same physical reality, and the levels of one and the same mental reality, memory and spirit. With a 'Computery', architectonic aesthetic, the works can be viewed as a kind of entropy, seen as an emergence in reverse, a procedural approach to decay rather than regeneration. This procedural entropy is used as a means of simulating or stimulating a form of ‘computational’ breakdown. Jonas Ranson is a print graduate of the Royal College of Art, currently living and working in Hackney, East London. Recent exhibitions have include Tableau Vivant, Aquarium Gallery, Bloomsbury 2007, Terra Extremitas Multi Disciplinary Event NDSM–WerfAmsterdam 2008, Impromptu, collaborative groupshow at Schwartz Gallery, Hackney and morerecently Deus Ex Machina, solo show at NO:IDGallery Whitechapel.
# 5 [27 October 2009]
Marc Wayland’s work Beyond the Hungry Away further develops the subjects Wayland explores through photography and printmaking. The difference between living and dying is thought of as a fragile membrane. It is that proximity to death and the corresponding vibration of the human soul that is a constantly re-occurring theme. Beyond the Hungry Away represented a continuation of his two-year investigation into portraiture of the spirit. What began as a series of portraits of dead friends developed into turning the camera on the beauty and vitality of those alive. ‘Capture the death of me and mirror it back to me lest I forget how to live’. Merely approaching that work created sufficient turbulence to disturb its material nature and give it a life beyond itself. Beyond the Hungry Away comprised of large photographic images printed on layers of fabric and exploited both natural and artificial light in the installation. Wayland studied combined arts at Brighton in the late eighties, and upon moving to London became intrigued by the sex industry and its power dynamics. He also worked as a story board artist, art director and director on a variety of music promo projects, and during subsequent years performed with Aiden Shaw’s Whatever throughout the USA and Europe. In 2002 whilst at the Royal College of Art he received the Alf Dunn Printmaking Award and the Helen Chadwick travel Award. MA Fine Art Print Making, The Royal College of Art, London. Marc has recently exhibited at Werkstatt Galerie in Berlin as part of Comet Prussia group show, an attempt to show what the Prussian state-idea has become today, purging it of nostalgia and projecting it on to a contemporary screen.
# 4 [20 October 2009]
Nikos Alexiou, is a Greek artists and collector most known for his installation The End exhibited at Venice Biennale, Greek Pavilion in 2007. His most obvious signature is the use of fragile, lightweight materials (bamboo shoots in his early work and now semi-transparent paper ) which he combines to form geometric patterns. For the Celestial Contrakt he has created an installation that pulls together the various strands that have run through his work for more than two decades. Each part of this installation is a link in a chain. Images are deconstructed and then reassembled, suggesting that art is a self-sustaining, orderly, closed circuit. Suspended grid-like structures, made from coloured cotton threads, creating a heraldic yet ethereal effect that is enhanced by the light streaking through the patterns. His use of such ephemera accentuates a feeling of playful vulnerability and lends his surfaces a warm, evanescent quality. Alexiou often returns to early ideas taken from his visits to the Iviron monastery on Mount Athos, some with Byzantine references. He employs a cut-and-paste technique to transform the original images of the floor plan into abstract, interrelated motifs. Alexiou traces these images which he then pieced together to form a curtain before presenting them as the set design for a theatre adaptation of a folk tale.
# 3 [19 October 2009]
Christina Mitrentse investigates the esoteric qualities of myth, interpretation and cultural construction through processes of painting, handcrafted sculpture, installation and conceptual appropriation. Her practice oscillates between that of curator, collector and storyteller in an endeavour to designate the peculiarity of this relational space of aesthetics. Ignoring traditional hierarchies of display, Mitrentse creates a freedom to suggest new narratives and poetic ensembles of personal institutions such as schools, libraries, churches, academies and museums. Using the tropes of quasi-science, telluric monuments and celestial exploration, her work offers an ocularcentric pattern of discovering worlds within worlds and meaning in allegory. Through sustained research of cosmological phenomena, explicit for the Celestial Contrakt, she has created a sculptural ‘constellation’ suggesting a humorous, visual transmission from the banal to the monumental. Mitrentses’ use of magnitude relates to her fascination with the spatial model and scale of the megacosm depicted in the ‘The Book of Universe’.
Navigating within these works, we are related to a conception in which the 'primary' form of the universe is defined by the significations of natural occurrences within everyday life. Mitrentse is a Greek visual artist/curator and art educator who holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Her artworks are included in both private and public collections in Europe and the United States.Selected shows include;Building My Library, solo show, NO:ID gallery ‘09, Drench/Absorb, Oblong gallery 09, In/Flux HTAP, London 09. Brussels Art Fair ‘09 The Apartment Gallery Athens. Impromptu, Schwartz Gallery London ’09. The End of the Earth’NDSM, Amsterdam 08. The Secret School Solo show in bomb shelter, London 05. An Outing, Beltsios Collection Athens 06. Christina Mitrentse isrepresented by Lola Nikolaou Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece.
# 2 [18 October 2009]
CELESTIAL CONTRAKT is an exhibition curated by Christina Mitrentse and Jonas Ranson which opens at Schwartz Gallery on Thursday 12 November and runs until 6 December 2009. The gallery is open Friday-Sunday 12-6pm.
The Private View takes place 6-10pm on Thursday 12 November 2009.
The exhibition will feature works by
Dominic Allan . Nikos Alexiou . Alex Bunn . Andrew Hladky . Bern Roche Farrelly . Stine Ljungdalh . Christina Mitrentse . Jonas Ranson . Lee Wagstaff . Marc Wayland
Also on the Opening Night there will be Music by DOUCE ANGOISSE and Audio Mixes by EXITJESUS
Late Night View until 9pm ( First Thursdays ) 3 December
Artist talk 2pm Saturday 28 November.
The exhibition Celestial Contrakt navigates through the terrain of the ‘celestial and ‘ethereal’ in an attempt to offer different entry and exit points to the theme and suggests alternate possibilities within the experiential environments. Schwartz Gallery is formed as an uncharted territory which provisionally describes two conceptions of artworks as ‘terrestrial’ and ‘celestial’. These create non-linear journeys that look beyond Materialist thought. The project brings artist and viewer together to a conception in which the ‘terrestrial’ world does not yet exist and can only arise in the sphere of the imagination. A diverse group of international and London-based artists become wanderers in space and time, drawing from a vast fluid field of collective ideas. The celestial as the nocturnal experience filters through from anthropological investigations, focusing on the ontological dimension; the impulse of irrationality in scientific and architectural artifacts and the surreal poetics of contemporary technology which appear to have cosmological associations. If morning is characterized by surprise, expectation, and regeneration, darkness procures a different type of sentiment and consciousness. The premise of night engages many mythical poetic figurations inextricably linked to the nocturnal walk under the canopy of theconstellation.
Suggesting a state of irrational mystical delirium, the two-dimensional works, film, sculptural objects and performance, shed ‘light’ on the perception of quasiscientific phenomena. They can be characterized as positing the supremacy of hallucination, generating illusions from different time and space. The implication is one that places the artists in a position of pre-reflective mysticism. The content of works come alive and give birth to other bodies, free from materiality and gravity. Rather than an opaque geometry, we suggest an all pervading ethereality that is uncontrollable and ungraspable, causing a fusion between the physical and the metaphysical, the familiar and the unspecified. This manifestation serves to offset the potentially ’oppressive effect’ of ‘earth bound’ conceptual content. Within this context Celestial Contrakt is a positive vision of chaos and complexity that proposes the deconstruction of our conceptual mechanism.
# 1 [17 October 2009]
Jonas Ranson is a print graduate of the Royal College of Art (2001-03) currently living and working in Hackney, East London. Recent exhibitions have included Tableau Vivant, Aquarium Gallery, Bloomsbury 2007 . Terra Extremitas, Multi Disciplinary Event NDSM – Werf Amsterdam 2008 . Cupboard Love Public Art Commission, Greenwich2008,and more recently, Impromptu, collaborative group show at Schwartz Gallery, Hackney.