A Hot Mess
September 5th – October 17th, 2015
Gallery Fatiha Selam is pleased to announce the first French solo exhibition of the New Zealand artist André Hemer, living in Sydney (Australia). The event “A Hot Mess” presents recent works that explores the intersections between digital media and painting. His works embrace and reveal the transformations and transactions occurring between the contemporary digital image, and the traditional painting object
André Hemer : painting, from pigment to pixel
When the digital wave first crashed onto the shores of painting, mistrust quickly set in. Faced with the authentic gesture of the painter and confronted physically by the support of the canvas, what was the meaning of this intrusion whose sole identity was fictitious, whose only reality virtual? For millennia the process of linear creation has left man alone, face-to-face, first with cave walls and then with the surface of the canvas. Digital had turned the practice upside down: the intrusion of a machine, the computer as an object of suspicion. The possible use of superimposable layers, the astonishing ease with which the digital artist can play with, rub out, undo, redo, all these accusations were in support of discrediting the mere idea of a digital art in its own right. This is why the presentation by Galerie Fatiha Selam in Paris of a young artist, André Hemer – an artist from distant climes who has exhibited from New Zealand to Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Germany and Britain – shows that an original path is being carved out here.
Canvas and canvas
Belonging to a generation for whom digital presents itself as a natural and obvious space, André Hemer could only be attracted by its limitless creative possibilities. In 2011 his painting Bleue Pole, based on a QR code linking to the famous painting by Jackson Pollock, won the National Contemporary Art Award at the Waikato Museum, New Zealand. Here the use of digital is blatant: reading the QR code imaged in his work enables us to follow the web link to the National Gallery of Australia. His exhibition “Hyper/links” (2011) at The Physics Room in Christchurch, New Zealand, thus developed this strategy of a kind of “heightened painting”, directly associated with the role of the computer and the Internet. From this point on André Hemer’s approach found its specificity in the conjugation between digital art and painting. What does this mean?
Starting with paint thickened by marble powder (a specific product that the manufacturer has named Lascaux!), the artist creates forms whose volume recalls a gesture inherited from the journey into memory that is painting. He then translates this tangible output into digital images. A long choosing process then ensues, of selecting images, of creating layers that will determine the work to come. After this new step, resulting in a digital print and corresponding to the painter’s canvas, André Hemer picks up his palette again, the thick material of his paint completing a painting born of this hybridisation.
The result of this protocol then benefits from the respective possibilities of each discipline. The digital image, generated from three-dimensional forms and produced by the hand of the painter, leaves the artist complete freedom to create, or to repent of, everything with ease – to which painting cannot make claim. Already marked with creativity is the gesture of the hand, which when directly applied to this canvas, revives in the artist his sensitive capability, his physical creativity and decision-making according to his own rhythm, breathing and sense of touch.
Pigments and Pixels
After the charcoal of parietal art and the pigments in linseed oil of the Dutch masters, the digital revolution is therefore able to find a path of dialogue with painting. The act of painting takes on a new meaning. André Hemer plays a part in making his own propositions in the emergence of this new painting, which rather than refusing the advent of digital in order to preserve the act of painting, rather than abandoning this age-old adventure to the profit of digital art, decides that a new way is possible. The result of this work, visible today at Galerie Fatiha Selam, interferes with our perception. Between the thick matter of the painting is the processed digital image, reproduced on the canvas, and the final contribution of the painter on this print; the ability to discern places, volumes, materials, appears to escape the viewer. It is as if the very description of the object observed is pushed aside. In this game of pigments and pixels, the paint is continuously searching to define itself. After several months residency in France, André Hemer will set off again for greater global experiences. This exhibition at Galerie Fatiha Selam offers the unique possibility of discovering the original creations of his stay in Paris in this innovative search for the confluence of paint and digital.
André Hemer, born in 1981, is a New-Zealand painter living in Sydney whose work explores the links between digital media and painting. His work opens a new path by working with this classic medium, modern discussions on which are often proclaimed in demise. He gives primary priority to the value of digital images, saving them from their inevitable drowning within the mass of digitalization. By doing so André Hemer returns painting in its most simple nature, recalling the visual of a period, a context, a culture. He employs the digital as tool to carry out his practice, but also as an object with which to witness our own culture. The artist therefore works with a marriage between the painting, whose practice he brings up to date, and the digital medium, which he raises the value to a work of art. This merges two worlds that are normally put against each other, highlighting each of their values.
Completing his MA (masters) at the Royal College of Arts, London, and gaining a PhD (doctorate) in painting from Sydney College of the Arts, (University of Sydney), André Hemer was recently singled out by The Guardian, nominating him as one among their six favourite artists whose career will be one to follow. He has also done the front cover of the work 100 painters of Tomorrow, of Thames and Hudson publications (2014) that present the most promising artists from around thirty countries. Art Collector just devoted an article to him, among the actualities to notice for 2016 (issue 75 – January March, 2016)
Represented by the Chalk House Gallery (Sydney, Australia) and by the Gow Langford (Auckland) and Bartley and Company (Wellington) in New Zealand, the artist is also internationally shown (Korea, United Kingdon, China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Italy …). ‘A Hot Mess’ at Galerie Fatiha Selam is his first French exhibition. This exhibition takes place within a current wave of events, as the artist will participate in no less than six exhibitions here by the end of 2015. These exhibitions include the Galerie Kristin Hjellegjerde in London, the Villa Lena in Tuscany and a retrospective of his works since 2005 curated by the Pataka Museum in New-Zealand. André Hemer is also going to participate to the 2016 Art Basel Hong Kong edition.