DAG - untitled, 2011, 80cm x 80cm, marker on canvas
copyright by the artist
courtesy Laura Mars Grp.
The avant-garde – in its various permutations – is always present. Malevich’s elementary shapes, 20th century Constructivist tendencies, geometric arrangements from Bauhaus to Op Art, the grids and serial aesthetics of the industrial and computer age – all of this finds its way into DAG’s paintings. Almost involuntarily, our thoughts turn to British art historian Timothy J. Clark who once called Modernity our Antiquity – a universal canon of forms and ideas that continues to nourish and feed our culture after all those decades. Venerable, ageing Modernity renews itself through self-reference and recurrence; it serves as its own fount of youth and rejuvenation. A highly topical phenomenon: even today, countless of artists pursuing myriads of different approaches continue to draw on this cornucopia, a pool of inspiration that might have forfeited its former utopian potential, yet retains the perennial appeal of an identifcatory model for cultural production and existence.
And this is undoubtedly true of DAG’s oeuvre: art in an age of unlimited reproducibility, its signature seemingly erased. At first glance, some pictures appear to have been generated by digital means. However, DAG pursues a very different path. While he does pick up on the issue of repetition and reproduction, he does not actually do it himself. What might look technical isn’t so. Closer inspection soon reveals the works’ individual methodology and the strong manual aspect that shapes it all – even in images dominated by prefabricated elements or simple basic modules. DAG incorporates sheets of coloured dot stickers, uses ruler and templates and restricts himself to the fundamental geometric units of circle, triangle, rhombus and parallelogram. These are the building blocks of his works, applied to the primed, white canvas with a humble felt-tip pen. While this might sound hackneyed or mundane, concrete words and definition: on the one hand, it doggedly obliterates anything that might be considered figurative or representational, anything elaborate and overtly artistic – on the other, it generates, as if by chance, pictorial effects, personal reflections and many idiosyncratic moments that catch our eye and force it to linger. Everything is unique, nothing repeatable.
(from: Modernity is alive, by Sebastian Preuss, DAG – Inclusion, Fantôme)