MEMORIES OF THE DIGITAL AGE
May 29 – June 20 2015
Arnout Killian (NL) / John Hodany (USA) / Julia Münstermann (D)
The exhibition Memories of the Digital Age consists of paintings by the artists Arnout Killian (NL), John Hodany (USA) and Julia Münstermann (D). The title questions how the digital age will be reviewed in the future. The artworks in the exhibition deal with the aesthetics of the digital but through their inherent tactile nature as paintings they also question its immateriality.
Killian, Hodany and Münstermann are three painters, whose work converges in several ways, both in content and formally, in their way of dealing with abstraction through light and structure. Their paintings, each in their own way, meander on the border of abstraction and figuration. In Killian’s paintings for example, light-diodes from screens or goblins refer to abstract painting. Münstermann turns cityscapes into abstract color spaces while Hodany’s work is often at the border of the natural and the man made, connected by an underlying geometric pattern.
Within all the works in the exhibition, structure plays an important role. Killian paints the haptic materiality of a carpet in a vibrant optical way. Münstermann lets the structure of rough linen appear through the application of paint and pigments. Hodany’s way of cutting, fitting and rearranging parts of paintings, is reminiscent of quilts.
All three artists take their inspiration from the real world, as well as, from digital and media aspects. In this context, within the paintings there are gradations of color and light, which often refer to the altered perception of light found in film, animation, and photography. The appearance of the horizontal and vertical lines of the canvas and the translucent layering of color in Münstermann’s paintings might refer to a flickering screen. Killian’s paintings of carpets even might remind us of an archaic kind of pixel. Hodany’s work often references film editing with its sharp cuts and repetitions.
One can see a fascination for science fiction and the atmosphere of another world or otherworldliness within the works. In Hodany’s and Münstermann’s work the absence of the human figure and the choice of color suggest an alien world. In Killian’s work it is the artificiality and the choice of subject–-residue, redundancy, abundant objects–-which also generate alienation. His realistically painted depictions of carpets, screens and office interiors, create a tension between the seductive beauty of the tactile surface and the unease/discomfort of the banal everyday world. Münstermann takes her inspiration initially from the city or a distant view of the urban space. Primarily, it is the city at night with its artificial light, which blurs the borders between reality and illusion or imagination. Through the process of painting, the reduction of color, light and space, there remains only indications or memories of the city or rather the night with its uncertain and seductive characteristics.
Hodany’s work deals with a constant interplay between different environments, inhabitants, objects and microcosms. Through invented techniques, using a development of patterns, sequences or the separation and integration of sections within his paintings, Hodany creates the effect of a continuum and suggests animation within a still image.
Throughout the works of Hodany, Killian and Münstermann, it seems that through painting with its materiality and tactile nature, there is a kind of “re-analogisation” of the digital media and virtual world. They are analogue painted images, which involve the omnipresence of the digital world.