Five Seasons: Five Artists, Torkarska Gallery, London, January 14th-28th 2012
‘Nothing endures but change’ – Heraclitus Greek philosopher (540 BC – 480 BC)
As human beings we are programmed to evolve like the inevitability of the changing of the seasons, to adapt, progress, learn and to make sense of the heavily-trodden transitionary path.
In times of hardship and economic strain we often have to quicken the pace of change, or harness a resourcefulness to intercept time’s dogged pattern, simply ticking over to a compulsory destiny. Although time and the cosmos ultimately govern our existence, only we can change our lives. Nobody, not even time itself can make things happen for us.
We could sit and watch the leaves die in many shades of autumnal colours, allowing the definitive triggers of the four seasons to account for a subsidiary progression, or we can create a fifth season: our unique existence, questioning and constructing our own reality of change.
The Artists’ of Five Seasons represent their interactions with transitions in reality. Polly Saunders’s work is concerned with how photography and the ‘dissemination of imagery changes our relationship to likeness’, and how in turn the ‘real’ aesthetic experience can be broken down and manipulated through various mediums: ‘The problem with new technology and the influence of photography is that the image of the imagination can now be conjured without referent to an external reality’. This in turn poses questions over the authentic – our real world versus the virtual world of imagery, where synthetic experience acquires more investment becoming the favoured ‘actual’. This growing trend promotes a surreal experience of uncanny recognition because we are so far removed from the original. Polly’s practice serves as a point of relevance concerning a watered-down art history.
Melisa Burn’s practise presents a ‘playful investigation’ of particular symbolic imagery relating to the natural world and how ‘this imagery can be used and combined to explore how abstraction and methods of information processing are employed in order to gain an understanding of the surrounding world’. Through a mixed media perspective, she seeks to accentuate the limitations of hierarchal modes of thought when attached to the natural world. Her explorations can be seen as bridging the gap between our over-simplified, structured existence and the unchartered, natural world often referred to as ‘other’. Melisa views her own artistic enquiry as an enriching process, questioning and interpreting elements of nature that have yet to be dragged into our society of symbols, justification and law and order.
Jakub Celgraz’s work deals with unadulterated, snippets of a visual autobiography, including the-would -be subtext in the shape of thoughts and desires if this was a novel. The items are direct relics from the artist’s interactions with changes and experiences of his own reality. Just as we enjoy delving into other people’s lives, thoughts and feelings offered up through social networking sites, so are we enthralled through these personal items of sentimental value; it’s a personal history laid bare, with all the honesty of someone who is not ashamed to know their own mind.
Subash Thebe’s oeuvre can aesthetically be ascribed to abstract expressionism. These gestures of line and colour present a visual, cacophonic aftermath of spontaneous and pre-thought experiments whilst listening and reacting to classical music, eventually named after the title of the listened to score. The piece ‘Soaring Spirit’ is inspired by the beautiful classical piece by Rachel M Davis. His second piece ‘Rub my back and I will give you art’ questions the painter’s existence in respect to the notion of modern art, especially gestural, spontaneous painting – associated with the artists style – yet so continuously undermined throughout modern art theory.
Art can be described as our leverage towards understanding and questioning our own existence, it is often an outlet for coping with or vetting against change. This is true of the work of Mette Philipsen, as she quotes her initial engagement with art through an experience when she was 13, ‘I saw my first art work that triggered my interest in the debate of what is art? The piece involved actual death of a Goldfish, resonating in shock and leading her to question the boundaries of art. Mette’s artistic process is slightly unconventional, often working backwards following an idea that has simply appeared in her mind without any structured pattern of thought. But can one really describe this as unconventional when related to how we make decisions in our own lives? For the most part we latch onto an idea and chase after it. For Mette, if a glimpse of a sculpture, video or drawing reoccurs she feels compelled to create it, the same way many of us translate our reoccurring dreams into conscious desires.
– Zoe-Lee Skelton
Here is a link to the gallery spave page where you will find directions and more information: http:/tokarskagallery.co.uk/current-exhibitions