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Barbara Seiler Galerie, Zurich May 29-July 17
Subject sitting in darkened room is told to watch a dot of light and draw a record of its movement on paper. Dot is actually stationary. But to most normal people it seems to move around, describing a wandering, irregular track. Drawings curated by Marcel van Eeden, with Maria Forde, Johan Gustavsson, Steve Lambert, Charlie Roberts, Rebecca Shapiro, Nedko Solakov, Stephan van den Burg, Porous Walker
May 29 – July 17, 2010
Opening Friday, May 28 from 6 – 8 pm
Subject sitting in a darkened room is told to watch… is the first show in a series of annual drawing shows curated by an artist who works mainly in drawings himself. The series is opened by Marcel van Eeden, a Dutch artist living in Zurich, whose work consists mainly of drawings and who prefers the techniques and simple materials of drawing.
For almost all artists in the show drawing is an important part of their practice. Van Eeden selected them on almost only that criterion. The final decision of asking artists for the show was quite intuitive. Despite this vague starting-point there are strong relations between the works of the artists. It was only after the selection these similarities became clear.
One main character of most works is humor. Fun. But not only to be funny in a meaningless way. ‘I believe that with humor and sarcasm, I am touching on pretty serious matters,’ Nedko Solakov said once. Grown up in Bulgaria when it was still a communist country, Solakov learned to disguise his criticism. It is a strategy that still works.
The 70′s styled drawings of Porous Walker often show hilarious and especially juvenile, but at the same time melancholic sex jokes. Critique, on society or the art world, is also an important part of the work of Steve Lambert. But again, mixed with humor to make things stronger, human and bearable.
Johan Gustavsson likes to stress ugliness and the imperfect to show us a glimpse of the real world, beyond the humorless perfectness that can be seen in magazines or on tv. And with a slight turn, Stephan van den Burg wants us to see those mass media images in an other way. He uses them, but with some changes that put them into a different light.
Humor also plays an important role in the work of the last three artists, but they add another feature to it: a kind of folkloristic naivety. They use the language of ‘outsider artists’, but they are definitely not. Charlie Roberts shows some of his ‘short stories’, small comic like narratives, and Maria Forde made a comic about the role music played in her youth. Her etchings of country artists fit in this story. Rebecca Shapiro, an artist that lives in a house that only exists in the year 1945, uses images from old medical books for her embroideries, intended as a tragicomical collection of oddities.
It is a funny show.