Lumen Travo gallery is thrilled to present the new group exhibition ”Imaginary Travels", which features the works on paper of Dianne Hagen (NL), Jens Pfeifer (DE), Monali Meher (IN) and Thierry Oussou (BEN).
At a time when traveling has become incredibly difficult, we would like to offer an opportunity to experience an imaginary journey around the world.
We do this through the very diverse approaches of the four selected artists, who bring to Lumen Travo a new body of work, developed almost entirely from the beginning of the 2020 lockdown. Their experiences, fascinations and considerations are here combined together, resulting in a kaleidoscopic visual excursion.
Dianne Hagen presents her new series of works, going by the title Aux bain-Marie (2020).
Bain-Marie we all know for nicely melting the chocolate without burning it. The Aux that precedes it stands for “to”, emphasising the meaning of ‘reaching a place’. In the Aux bain-Marie group of works the pattern and the place (object) are playing together. Through means of perspective, hidden and unfolding and through diligent, almost meditative, painterly labor, Hagen wants to blur the boundaries between abstract and figurative, in order to disrupt, to assume, to feel, to imagine. In these works, the use of realism is provocative: a sunset, a streaming river, a flower, are here depicted though the lens of false romanticism. The suggestiveness is a tool for conflicting interpretations and for highlighting the inherent freedom of ambivalent scenarios that can resist single interpretations.
The sum of partly recognisable elements plays with emotions of longing, desire, judgment, power, love and condemnation. The viewer doesn’t get round to one reading or statement. There is no puzzle to be solved or descriptive, didactic or moralists’ lessons to be taken from it. It only involves the person who looks at it.
The series Smokers stems from observations that German artist Jens Pfeifer made while he was in China. Unconsciously, he photographed many men, and some women, smoking on the streets, in restaurants, in parks and offices, mornings, days and nights. Cigarettes determine for a great deal the visual perception of Chinese life. More so, smoking is part of the social concourse, almost like serving tea. What one smokes very much defines the social status too. From self-grown tobacco in bamboo pipes to fancy gold-leaved, over-prized cigarettes.
The use of aluminium foil refers to the fact cigarettes are wrapped in this very material. Its catchy reflectiveness is the same as is seen in the multitude of stainless-steel applications in architecture and art throughout the province, as well as on Billboards along the highways.
The ink enhances depth, yet it is brought on the aluminium in a way that it looks random and accidental.
These images are a contradiction between the elegant, heroic, cool smoker, as we know them from many advertisements in all cultures, and the emptiness of a plain (sur)face on a tar-black background.
Indian artist Monali Meher presents a mix media series of works on paper, which reflect the mood of present times, particulalry in light of the horrific situation back in her motherland, India, which has been incredibly affected by the current pandemic.
In the series of collaged works called Threshold, Old Indian market photos are cut and shaped in threshold forms (window sill, steps, niche, doorway, pond, wall, tree, roof, dome, fence), combined into colourful collages through an almost ritualistic sequence of actions, which also involves the use of food colours, inks, pigments, face paints and sandalwood oil to soothe the pain while hoping for safer times.
The larger mixed media collaged works on handmade paper present a combination of light, dark & gloomy facts of life, skilfully juxtaposed in order to create a mosaic of antithesis: birth and death, happy and sad, entanglement of void and creative vigour.
Thierry Oussou paints exclusively on black paper and favours large-scale formats. The works showcase his distinctively gestural style with drips, scratches, splatters and calligraphic marks. Distorted figures, faces, objects and symbols float freely against the dark background of the paper.
In his artistic practice Oussou deals with questions about authenticity, history, heritage and visibility. Through his use of various media including painting, sculpture and video, Oussou brings reflection to this moment, crafting probing yet poetic commentaries on the threads that link the past and the future.
Much of the work in this exhibition was inspired by the lives of Beninese men and women working in the cotton plantations.
For this ongoing project, Oussou developed a multi-layered visual investigation, which addresses the cotton plantations in Benin, his motherland, and the impact they have on the economic rise of the country.