Fontana is excited to present the group exhibition Hidden Remains with works by Eva Spierenburg, Matthew Allen, and Robert Roest, curated by Pieter Dobbelsteen. The exhibition plays with the idea of a spiritual or religious residue in contemporary art. In the art works in this exhibition this residue remains –at first glance– hidden. However, upon closer inspection some of this hidden layer may reveal itself.
The work of New Zealand born, Australia based artist Matthew Allen is rooted in a minimal tradition. These works seem to deal primarily about the artist’s relationship to the material – in his case graphite. The artist has spent many hours rubbing powdered graphite onto his canvases until an almost otherworldly metallic shine appears.
Dutch artist Eva Spierenburg takes a different approach. Whereas Allen’s work merges mind and matter in a meditative, almost zen-like fashion, Spierenburg’s work deals with the (human) body. Spierenburg’s interest in the finitude of life and the experience of our corporeal existence is a highly personal continuation of a long standing tradition in western art and christian religious practices that deal with life, death, and suffering.
At first glance, no sacral essence is detectable in the four large ‘cheese paintings’ by Robert Roest. His paintings seem banal at first, yet they’re more than that. According to the artist, when placed together, the works evoke ’the austere atmosphere in a Roman sanctuary’.
The 'hidden remains’ are part of our collective memory, and thus of our visual memory. They keep popping up in modern and contemporary art. Whereas our Modern predecessors looked towards theology (Turell, Rothko) or a quasi-religious sublime experience (Newmann), contemporary positions –such as the ones of Spierenburg, Allen and Roest– fan out beyond these approaches, as well as beyond the irony of postmodernism. The works in this exhibition are playful and sincere, uniquely contemporary yet rooted in art historical tradition.