May 6, 2010

Spencer Finch, Amabilis Insania - Nordenhake, Berlin

Spencer Finch, Amabilis Insania
Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin
April 30 - June 5, 2010

Galerie Nordenhake in Berlin presents an exhibition by US artist SPENCER FINCH (born in 1962, lives in New York). The artist conceived new drawings, photographs and a light installation but also a sound installation and a sculpture. Themes uniting the diverse works in the show are the complexities and pleasures of apprehending sensations. Most of the works deal with misperceptions or misapprehensions. They are treated not necessarily as failure but as pleasurable moments hinting at a seeing prior to recognition and rationalisation.

The seduction of misperception is suggested in a group of photographs: in reality representations of cherry blossoms in a pond, they appear as delicate images of clouds in the sky bringing to mind Alfred Stieglitz’ series of abstract photographs “Equivalence”. In another work, the white concrete sculpture sitting directly on the gallery floor recalls a pile of snow. A similar irritation of our perception evokes the sound installation.

The artist maps the limits of his own field of vision in a drawing that compares far peripheral and central vision, but it also contrasts linguistic and visual descriptions of colour. Spencer Finch recorded the colour of a car rushing by on a highway once it appeared in his field of vision and painted his colour impression with pigments on paper. Like a researcher, he adds a written account of the vehicle's actual colour and form. The central vision differs from the perception in peripheral areas of the eye in respect to colour and form and proves it as erroneous.

The uncertainty of perception — that there is more to reality than our bodily senses could register — is implied in the series of eight drawings after false-colour images. The colourful oil pastels look entirely abstract but are in fact truly representational as they render thermograms of the light falling through the window in the artist’s studio over the course of one day.

Spencer Finch is known for a multi-layered artistic practice in which he explores the mechanism and mysteries of perception. Many of his poetic and witty works aim at preserving the memory of a sensorial experience, be it a pile of snow or moonlight in Venice. He bases his unconventional and meticulous representations on extended research and rigorous measurement while his art acknowledges the difference and distance of all representation and reinforces the beauty of the fleeting nature of the observed world.

Spencer Finch's artworks were previously presented in Berlin by Galerie Nordenhake in two exhibitions Spencer Finch: In Praise of Shadows (2007-2008) and Spencer Finch: Prussian Blue (2005).

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