Between Light and Memory – Hemer’s art and Aphrodite’s review
23 April 2020
Award-winning Ilam School of Fine Arts graduate André Hemer is the subject of the first essay in a new series by online publishing platform Contemporary HUM, focusing on New Zealand arts activity in the Asia region.
In the essay, produced in collaboration with guest editor Tokyo-based Catherine Dale, writer Sharmini Aphrodite reviews the New Zealand/Austrian artist's recent show at Yavuz Gallery in Singapore. Images Cast by the Sun was the artist's third exhibition at Yavuz and featured both paintings and video works, based off digitally processed paint forms. Finding parallels between the paintings’ location in Singapore and their creation in Vienna, Aphrodite articulates their visceral qualities.
“To make these works, Hemer spent his evenings scanning three-dimensional paint forms outdoors, catching them with a flat-bed scanner as the light began to shift and fade. The digital scans were then recomposed, printed onto canvas, and layered again with paint. The result unfurled around the gallery, leaving the viewer with the sense they’d been hurled headlong into a fistfight of colour and light,” she writes.
“The works have, at their heart, the sky and the light that it casts. These are things that cannot be grasped but which are ever-present. Shifting between the intangible and the corporeal, between actual paint and scans of it, the works fit neatly within Hemer’s wider practice, which interrogates ‘the materiality and ontology of paint’.
“To look at any one of the canvases in the exhibition is to stand in the presence of the past and the present, to be aware of the passing of time. The blurred-edges of the scans beneath the paint gesture to the semblance of memory and how it softens with time, yet tends to lurk behind the physical present.”
André Hemer (b. 1981) is a New Zealand/German artist who is currently based in Vienna, Austria. He holds a Master of Fine Arts (Distinction) from the University of Canterbury (2006) and a PhD (Painting) from the University of Sydney (2015). Hemer is the recipient of several awards including The National Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum (2011) and the Bold Horizons Contemporary Art Award (2011). In 2016 he was the Paramount Award Winner at The Wallace Art Awards, and recipient of the Arts Foundation New Generation award. His work has appeared at international art fairs such as the Melbourne Art Fair; Sydney Contemporary; Code Art Fair, Copenhagen; and Art Basel in Hong Kong, and features in public and private collections including the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, Wallace Arts Trust Collection, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Florida.
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