Aug 2020 Tracing Submergence / Danielle Arnaud Gallery
solo show in collaboration with Jan Hogan
Danielle Arnaud Gallery London
please switch your device’s sound ON for this show
“Tracing Submergence, a collaboration between Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Jan Hogan, is the latest in the gallery’s series of virtual exhibitions. Video, photography and poetry intertwine to create one work, the story of which is told in stages.
The six shorter videos, Tracing Submergence I – VI, created during lockdown, are experiments in the tensions between the solid and the liquid, the human and the non-human. These works are all around a minute long, enclosed within the resonant sound of a reaction unseen; metal upon metal perhaps, a gong-like noise not unlike the sealing of a meditation. Each work presents two screens, a Zoom call between continents – Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos in London, UK, and Hogan in Hobart, Tasmania – a mirroring of actions transmuting their physical distance, the thickness of the screens between them. The disembodied hands draw on Japanese paper, partially submerged in water. Ink is pulled across the paper slowly, instinctively. It bleeds into the water, leaking its jet black into the water’s neutrality, creating smoky clouds reminiscent of a fire’s death. Elements in opposition.
As closely as the hands might replicate one another, the ink blossoms at different rates; a simultaneity in gesture, an uncontrollable leaking nonetheless. Ink is drawn up the wrist, the boundary between the body and the water negated. Ink marked along vein lines, where our bodies’ own water rushes so consistently. The work becomes an extension of our internal and external existences, a parallel of the porosity between our skin and the outside world.
The longer video work, Tracing Submergence, is an extension of these themes. In this work the hands appear in one screen but, in times when we are stretched apart, this feels like an illusion. Sticks for the ink are replaced by feather quills, submerged in the water this time. They form a spine for the paper here, a watery soundscape providing a regularity for these actions. Hands manipulate the paper, testing its malleability, the limits of the material. We see the paper’s sodden flatness become dry and sculptural; a wordless book bound and stitched, a gold leaf orb in its centre. The geological is introduced, traced by the water’s passage of black ink across white paper and the hands that have crumpled the material – creating a rock face, the poetics of terrain.
This imprint of water’s movement, this geology of the intertwining of human and non-human, is captured in Tracing II – V, photographs of the paper layered. These photographs record a leaking of sorts, the pattern left by water submerging material while skin imprints upon it, testing the terrains that might be made. The work in Tracing Submergence investigates the shapeshifting not only of our selves but the elements around us, a record of our attempts at permanence in a world of shifting uncertainties.”
Catalogue Text by Tess Charnley
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