Due to the great successes the exhibition is prolonged from October 15th. 2011 to October 21th. 2011
We look forward to starting the season in Berlin with an opening at our new exhibition space on Strausberger Platz, which will feature a solo show by British artist Henry Coombes.
The show is entitled "Magic Towards Your Face" and is named after Coombes' most recent film, which explores the artist's reality amid the high ideals of the art critic and the polemical views of the art market, and thus reflects contemporary circumstances and concerns.
Shot in a journalistic-documentary style that is however distorted for expressive effect, "Magic Towards Your Face" (2010) stages the figure of the artist who is increasingly overwhelmed, who repeatedly fails at staging his own exhibition. In the course of the narrative, he gains new insights into the unexpected autonomy and foreignness of his works. The latter can be found, like staffage, sprinkled throughout the gallery's showroom: like the half-open crate lying on the ground with the bright neon letter piece inside it that reads "I make my own yoghurt" and is accompanied by a small group of collage paintings, which the protagonists in the film render in expressive gestures of color. Taking a fictive film plot as his starting point, Coombes sets up a connection between a staged and a real exhibition situation.
Henry Coombes creates striking characters for his film, which are influenced by the artist's reality and embody stereotypes particular to art as well as abstract ideas. His contrasting figures thus engage in a critical examination of the photorealist style or the self-portrait genre and also of discussions found in overarching art systems such as the art market and art scene, taking the client, curator, critic as an example. The staged subject in Coombes' works appears to be divested of its wholeness, as if dissected in various personifications that seek to engage not only with those factors influencing the situational context within which artworks emerge but also with those corresponding to its own psyche.
With his current series of works, Coombes has created a mise-en-abyme on several counts at once, that is, he has visually coverted his own process of artistic creation into a byzantine motif: Even though his experiences of staging exhibitions are reflected in the plot of the short film and the artist's alter ego is manifest on the silver screen, Coombes once again reprocesses the film motifs and characters in his collages and objects. While his films focus on the protagonists' expressive performance, by using various media to reprocess the material, he opens and extends the framework of his cosmos and motifs.
The theme of Coombes' work always evolves around the study and reflection of his cultural and artistic environment, mainly using a narrative style. He describes the role of the artist, doing so in relation to art-historical categories, styles and practices. Although "Magic Towards Your Face" increasingly takes the story's reference to reality into the abstruse and surreal, the straightforward quality of the fictive characters keeps the connection between the film and the exhibition credible. At times playful and funny, at times critical and reflective, Henry Coombes focuses on everyday reality, outlines the process-like way it is constructed and doesn't lastly enact the failure of the various components to interact rationally. In the tension existing between socially conditioned behavior and instinctive emotions, a critical deconstruction of established norms and values emerges from the artistic act.
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." (Samuel Beckett)
Henry Coombes, I make my own