Organizing the non-obvious II
Rod Barton, London EC1, UK, 2010
Bas van den Hurk's works are framed by the argument that image-based and abstract contemporary painting has reached the end of it's 'logical conclusion', where images and abstractions can no longer support any meaning. Van den Hurk explores the role and nature of this 'living death' by claiming that all painting today is, and can only be a representation. By doing so he raises questions such as:
What is a representation?
What is left of it?
What is left to work with?
Van den Hurk achieves his representational style by manipulating and re-working the clichés of contemporary techniques and approaches to painting today; a monochrome palette, the use of ephemera and found objects, abstract mark-making and collage techniques. At times Van den Hurk repeatedly layers the paint, at others he scrapes it to form fine veils across fabric, linen and paper. The tone of his works varies from serious, ugly and morbid to absurdist, witty and light-hearted.
Once completed, Van den Hurk combines his various works in the making and presentation of the exhibition itself. He then exhibits the results as site-specific installations that question the value of individual paintings, the combination of works and the relation towards the space and the spectator.
By asking that “I want to know what painting is, and I don’t want to know”, Van den Hurk explicitly lays bare the model of representation, not by demonstrating the ‘what’ of representation, but by showing representation itself. This spectacle of representation, presented through individual (and combined) works creates a gap in the experience of the viewer, a caesura - an open moment in which the observer is thrown back upon himself creating a space for reflection and consideration.