John Finneran, Figures in the Dream of the Moon, 2014, courtesy the artist & Arcade, London
FULL MOON IN LEO
John Finneran / Kris Lemsalu / Lisa Vlaemminck
There is an extreme pleasure in talking about a distant place to someone who hasn't been there, but is about to go. A strong and special desire to represent this image of the world. Symbols can function in a similar way. They can bring us closer to that place unknown. They can metaphysically change our bodies and the way we perceive time and space.
In this exhibition three artists come together to form a full cycle.
The power of three is universal.
It is the tripartite nature of the world as heaven, earth, and water.
Three is human as body, soul and spirit.
Three is birth, life, death.
Three is the beginning, middle and end.
Three is past, present, future.
Three is the heavenly number, representing soul, while four represents body.
Together the two equal seven and form the sacred hebdomad.
The title of the show is taken from astrology. The full moon in leo represents the opportunity to feel your own creative power but also that of the community. With subtle irony and not without humour, the artists in this show depict human existence as a consequence of the entanglement of all beings and gods. They create a poetic and at the same time dramatic fiction of an all-encompassing cosmic order. Their work can bring us to a depth of contemplation, but also to a place where one can take ownership of its own primitive longings.
One of the key elements in the work of Kris Lemsalu (1985, ES) are humour, irony and the absurd. It is known that tricksters often violate principles of social and natural order, playfully disrupting normal life before re-establishing it on a new basis. The trickster’s character is also an example of how it could be possible to overcome a system of oppression from within. This seems to go hand in hand with Lemsalu’s creativity and playfulness, finding humour and laughter to be her main tools for this. She often constructs multi layered allegories which have socially critical tones. Humour creates a kind of distance for the artist to deal with more serious topics and questions, for example birth and death. Still, she uses materials in a very honest and direct way for this, while processing them with her desire for certain balance. The aesthetic fragility of her ceramics is met with combinations of bold colour choices and vigorous forms which create a strong visual image into the viewer’s memory.
Looking at the mystic paintings of John Finneran (1979, US) we enter a dreamlike state of being. Finneran uses a distinguishing set of colours and reoccurring motifs mostly referring to the body or parts of the body, often combined with cosmic symbols like the sun and the moon. He has a specific interest in reaching mystic places through a close examination of the eye or mouth as is clear in an earlier series of small paintings on tin foil. In more recent paintings the abstraction of the female body as a whole come to the foreground. Through an elementary use of colour, forms and technique, reminiscent of Egyptian and early 20th century modernist painting, Finneran aims at creating emotional space and reaching places that were unknown to him before. "At work, I’m mostly pushing myself to be in a place where I don’t have any answers. Hopefully to learn something about what I’m feeling, or to see what I’m doing without judging it simultaneously. I love that disarming feeling of concentrating on your own eye in the mirror or looking directly into someone else’s eyes. I’m interested in the mysticism of not knowing anything”.
Lisa Vlaemminck (1992, BE) paints extraordinary still lifes that combine exotism with the rawness of the earth. She chooses neglected objects on the basis of pure attraction and places them within a new reality that supersedes the banality of its everyday appearance. Vlaemminck ignores any hierarchy or perspective in the composition of the painting, making the air in her paintings equally tangible as the soil, the colours equally tangible as the air. She tests the gradient painting technique to the limits and creates a strange object world full of juxtapositions. The primal melancholy of a dreary plant goes into dialogue with the aesthetics of a strip club from the eighties. There is a conscious interaction between the phenomenon of the still life and its history. During the process of painting she familiarizes with and takes possession of the image. It becomes soulful and animated.
Thanks to Arcade, London (UK) & Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn (ES).
Nieuwe Vaart 124/01
Wednesday up until Friday 14h - 18h
Sunday 12h - 18h
and by appointment