KINGS, GODS AND MORTALS

Group show featuring works by:
Henny Acloque (GB), Jasper de Beijer (NL), Armen Eloyan (AM), Gabriela Fridriksdóttir (IS), Ged Quinn (GB), Holger John (D), Paul Kaiser (USA), Jeroen Kooijmans (NL), Paul Pretzer (D), Sophia Schama (D), Viktoria Tremmel (AT)

Opening: Friday, 27th February 2009
Exhibition Duration: 28th February - 25th April 2009


I used to tell my friends that the inventor of painting, according to the poets, was Narcissus, who was turned into a flower; for, as painting ist he flower of all arts, so the tale of Narcissus fits our purpose perfectly. What is painting but the act of embracing by means of art the surface of the pool?
Leone Battista Alberti

Hamish Morrison Galerie is pleased to announce Kings, Gods & Mortals, an exhibition offering a vision proposed by contemporary artists on the complex subject of the relationship of man to his own mortality. This group exhibition deals with the construction of myths with which man defines himself, as in the way he occupies the time span that we call life, dreaming and thinking about what the reason for his presence on earth is.

Evoking man beyond history and civilizations, or as a vision rooted in our society, the artists of this exhibition explore his strengths and weaknesses, from wealth and power to death in poverty, sometimes making use of the human figure metaphorically reduced to the state of transience, as illustrated in Viktoria Tremmel's photographic series.

Kings Gods and Mortals shows artists who seek to transcend their era, looking for the essence of being human. Artists such as Holger John, Henny Acloque or Ged Quinn establish many pertinent references to the old masters such as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Baldung Grien and Albrecht Dürer to establish a bridge between humans of different eras and to put in perspective the anguish and the responses that they have tried to make of their impermanence or timeless truth. These paintings, graphic works, videos and drawings are strongly narrative and take many forms. They seem to refer to tales or imaginary projections of fantasies that the child carries with it, and the fear, frustration, anxiety and desire which leads it to identify with the hero that most of the time emerges as winner from his tribulations. Gabriela Fridriksdottir resorts to the metaphor for the world of illusion, to shamanism, enchantment and magic while Paul Pretzer makes use of fable-like figures, which he suddenly seizes whatever their physical or psychological state may be. It is then up to everyone to identify the moral of the story ... if only it exists.

The desire for immortality is a leitmotif running through this exhibition. Holger John could be the illustration of the speech of Aristophanes in Plato's "The Banquet" illustrating how Eros allows access to it, while others see in this work a reference to Diotime, cited by Socrates, saying that we can achieve immortality through the creative process, producing either action (the hero) or works of art (the artist) superior, beautiful and memorable. In this the self-portrait constitutes often a touching 'Mise-en-abîme' of the artist and the view that he has of his role in society. The perception that he has of himself and the one that he sends to the world often come in conflict with the temptation of creating his own myths, and  therefore as observers we must decode his works.