Martin van Zomeren is pleased to present ‘Is there life on Mars?’ The exhibition brings together works by Martijn Hendriks, Bas van den Hurk, Fiona Mackay, Navid Nuur and Anne de Vries.
Martijn Hendriks’s practice has its roots in painting yet reaches out to a range of different media as it grapples with the very production and reception of the art work in our present day. On one hand Martijn draws on the art historical legacies of abstraction and the formal vocabulary of minimalism. On the other hand he pushes them into a relation with the destabilized state of contemporary images and objects: against the objective and purist claims of minimalism and abstraction’s legacies, he offers a subjective and material re-reading that reflects a more complicated world.
The exhibition presents a floor sculpture from the Earth Speed series (2012). The starting point of the series is a page from Robert Morris’s essay showing a 1987 work by the minimalist sculptor John McCracken. Martijn altered the image, translated it into sculpture and repeatedly rearranged it until the original reference disappeared from view. This technique stresses the condition of the art work caught in an unstoppable process of translation upon translation, focusing on the question of how outside contexts pass over into a work’s physical and material form.
Similarly Bas van den Hurk’s practice circles around questions of the possibilities of painting today. Bas van den Hurk productively researches discursive networks, modes and models of painting and manual reproduction. His works are defined by the argument that image-based and abstract contemporary painting has reached the end of its ‘logical conclusion’, where images and abstractions can no longer support any meaning, whereas on the contextual side they show an awareness of the (art) historical and social contexts in which these works are produced and function.
Contemporary context is the starting point of Anne de Vries’s practice. In particular the works by Anne de Vries offer access to the increasing entanglement with technology - its material and symbolic origins, the sense of the world as part of the universe and our expanding understanding of the laws of physics through different media. Where new technologies are influencing our perceptions of the world, with all its socio-political implications. Considering that what lies at the heart of every living being is genetic information, we are approaching an uncanny valley where life and technology co-exist in a blurry commonality of their informational origin and material essence, each propagating an agenda of their own. Anne de Vries creates images that are self-consciously adverse to both convention and good taste.
Fiona Mackay’s works focus on the representation of life and ‘stories’ through an obtuse combination of symbolism, line, lines, repetition and layering. On the one hand they connect to the heydays of abstract painting (a predominantly male territory), while on the other they are clearly reminiscent of the world of textiles and folk art, usually associated with the feminine.
‘In-betweenness’ is the most defining characteristic of Navid Nuur’s organic, synaesthetic practice, with its formal echoes of Minimalism and Conceptual Art on the one hand, and a truly mindblowing sensorial exoticism on the other. The term applies to the position of the artist himself, too: he is always positioned in the middle, aiming to guide (or to conduct) his transformative processes to maximum impact. On the level of the works themselves, ‘in-betweenness’ points to the processual aspects that prevent them from becoming definite, static objects. A couple of years ago, Navid has coined the term ‘interimodules’ to describe his spatial works: they are pieces mediating between thoughts and their materialization, negotiating the space they occupy, and their temporal presence. Always addressing the dynamics of change, these artworks choose to be alive.