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Almine Rech Gallery Bruxelles: KADAR BROCK cast with flashback cast with flashback | JOEP VAN LIESHOUT - Primitive Modern - 19 Nov 2015 to 19 Dec 2015

Current Exhibition

19 Nov 2015 to 19 Dec 2015

Almine Rech Gallery, Bruxelles
20 Rue de l’Abbaye
B - 1050
T: +32 32 26 485 684
F: +32 26 484 484

Image: ©Kadar Brock
Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery

Artists in this exhibition: Kadar Brock, Joep Van Lieshout

cast with flashback
cast with flashback

November 19 - December 19, 2015 / Brussels
Opening on Thursday, November 19
5 - 8 pm
Almine Rech Gallery is pleased to present cast with flashback cast with flashback, an exhibition of new paintings by New York City-based artist Kadar Brock. Brock will display the latest works from three of his ongoing series of paintings. These bodies of works interrelate. The material produced through the scraping down of one painting generates the paint chips that produce another, the sanding down of which generates the dust that comprises yet another.

The title of the exhibition refers to a mechanic in the card-based fantasy game Magic: The Gathering, which Brock plays. The text “Cast with Flashback” appears when a player is able to reuse a spell that they had already used previously. By this special exception, something that should have been relegated to the past is made present and active again. This not only suggests Brock’s longstanding use of game-derived spell casting systems, both analogue and digital, as processes to organize and guide his activity on the canvas. But it also resonates with Brock’s references to a preexisting painting vocabulary derived from Modernism. These include: the color field, a process-based approach, a reflexivity of materials and content to the way the work was made, and to the material terms of painting itself. All of these Brock consciously derives from the toolbox of art history and replays in ways that, like these re-accessed spells, are drawn from the past, but are refigured as active agents in the present.

The doubling of the title refers to a glitch that exists only in the online version of the game, which displays the text twice when such a spell is cast. Brock likes the way that this suggests how digital space is one where things morph and multiply as they circulate through its networks, in certain cases allowing us to re-access old things in new ways. Brock demonstrates, through his work, that this includes Modernist ways of approaching the task of making a convincing picture. For, pointedly, Brock finds that the result of his manipulations are more affecting than the painting he starts with. This positions Brock astutely within a younger generation dealing with the changing status of painting as a medium. Brock, along with his peers, have seen that gesture no longer has to be figured only as empty. Instead, it has been reinvigorated by new kinds of gestures: such as swiping and tapping touchscreens. This in turn makes us newly aware of other ways of acting: including the workman-like gestures of sanding, casting, etc. that Brock uses in the studio.

In terms of the three series of paintings on view here, they all begin as conventional paintings that Brock produces with all the unselfconscious indulgences and freedoms of old, romantic ideas of direct, intuitive painting practices. These become available to him only because he knows that soon they will be erased by the activity of his sander. Out of these Brock produces his sanded paintings through a meticulous, labor-intensive process of first scraping, and then sanding down all his painted marks, achieving a subtle, worn gradient color field effect, which Brock enhances by careful additions of numerous layers of industrial strength primer and spray paint. The scraping and sanding process, even as it erases Brock’s original marks, creates new ones, and retains the history of the process through the effervescent pinks and blues that remain. Other points of formal interest in these works are the holes and tears that Brock’s razor makes in the canvas.

These gestures in turn produce other series’ of works, those produced through the aggregation of the paint chips that fall off of the painting in the act of scraping. And another series produced by the turning of the accumulated dust of the sanding process into a monochrome slab. All this establishes a contained ecosystem of sorts in Brock’s studio. Nothing goes to waste, as the byproducts of every process are creatively redistributed into new works. Other series’ evolve organically as Brock finds new ways of making use of the side effects of his workman-like activities.

Brock’s goal is that the resulting paintings, in the juxtaposition of a reductive quality with quiet but evident aesthetic effects, will provide the viewer with a space of respite and contemplation.

Alex Bacon



Primitive Modern

November 19 - December 19, 2015 / Brussels
Opening on Thursday, November 19th
5 - 8 pm

Images of a different brave new world to come. 

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in it!

-William Shakespeare 

Almine Rech Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by dutch artist Joep van Lieshout at the gallery. In this exhibition titled Primitive Modern, Joep van Lieshout presents the transition between two key projects: the new project Neo-futurism and recent works from the Gesamtkunstwerk New Tribal Labyrinth, which the artist has been working on for the last four years. Both projects depict the same paradoxical utopian desires, while bringing to the fore a clear shift through a future vision on the development of the world.

New Tribal Labyrinth is a series of sculptures that embrace the industrial revolution and depict the romantic longing to become one with both machine and matter. The series suggests the emergence of a new world order, inspired by old world orders. In this world, populated by fictional tribes, we see a return to agriculture and industry and the revaluation of ancient rituals. New Tribal Labyrinth is made up of agricultural, industrial and ritual objects, yet the exhibition mainly focuses on the world of rites and rituals. Sculptures that serve as objects of worship, victory columns and fertility figures refer to primitive sculptures. Venus figures and Madonnas, carved out of an intuitive and instinctive desire, stand on pedestals that refer to the modernism of the early 20th century.

Van Lieshout’s recent work Neo-futurism translates Futurism, the art movement of the early 20th century, into 21st century contemporaneity in a disruptive manner. Technology, big data, acceleration, conflict, aggression, robotics and recycling are mixed with poetry and romanticism. Not only do they show a new direction in the oeuvre of Van Lieshout, but they also offer us a glimpse of a possible future under construction, based, on the one hand, on destruction and deconstruction. Yet on the other hand, the work depicts the optimism of (re) construction and new energy. A shining example is the endless column that gives new meaning to the remnants of primitivism.

The largest work in the exhibition is a tribal dwelling. This Essential Dwelling is like a rock cave carved out by man. Here, the inside space and functions are determined by the original desires and urges of the human being. An essential living unit whose interior is shaped by irrational wishes. Here again, a tribal object is mixed with the ideas of modernism. The sculpture is both contemporary and utopian, primitive and archaic.

The coming together of Neo-futurism and the New Tribal Labyrinth challenges the viewer to set in search of a new image of the future as a new mental point of reference. Past and future, modernism and primitivism, the rational and the irrational, utopia and dystopia, art, energy and science are brought together and investigated. In this way, Van Lieshout creates new systems and worldviews on the ruins of the past.

Jan Boelen


For further information please contact Laure Decock:

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