One Morning I Woke Up Very Early is an exhibition that deals with the framework of imagination. The exhibition will start with a neuro-psychological analysis of fantasy – what does it mean to see things that are not there – and will attempt to reoccupy a space for new imaginaries in art, while at the same time questioning and enhancing the processes of illusionism, theatricality and their relation to the production of meaning. The works of Matthew Brannon, Tony Conrad and Nathan Hylden, in very diverse ways, revolve around the concept of projection, conceived either as the psychological investment of emotions and desires, or more literally, as a medium of reproduction by physically transferring a form or an image onto something else. Generally the artists in One Morning I Woke Up Very Early seem to stimulate a centrifugal imagination. Their work is able to create an awareness on the preconditions for imagination, more than guiding its viewers along narrow lines of anecdotic narration, by investigating and amplifying the frameworks that are able to generate speculative thought and fantasy. There is equally a subversive element of time at work in the different oeuvres through the frequent use of repetition and slight variations on a theme.
Matthew Brannon’s (Idaho, 1971) stylized and softly coloured work is active in trying to occupy spaces in the folds of a cultural subconscious. His practice moves through marginal spaces like letterpress prints, posters, tapestries, books and records. Brannon seems to be reconstructing and restaging their formats, permeated by linguistic perversions, slips and puns, as instances that reveal a relation to the subconscious cultivation of refined taste. His signature style combinations of short narrative texts and stylized pop colour imagery are inviting the subject into an emotionally fragile terrain, that leads to self destruction and perversion. For One Morning I Woke Up Very Early Matthew Brannon will present two tapestries with a bamboo print structure. The grids in Pulling Out and Price of Admission could either outline the framework of a comic strip story, but they could equally construct a architectural space. There is an ambivalent relationship between the exotic/idyllic qualities of bamboo sticks and the perhaps more sinister interpretation of a construction of bones. Both tapestries are shown together with an installation of a book (Hyena) on a chair (the book can be read by the visitor), and a sound canceling device that is used to obscure, or mute conversations of patients in adjacent rooms, in psychoanalytic therapy.
Tony Conrad (New Hampshire, 1940) is a seminal artist and film maker from the 1960’s and 1970’s. His work remains influential and is partly responsible for the rediscovery of structural film of recent years. Straight and Narrow from 1970 is a film that solely consists of vertical and horizontal black lines. Although the film is printed on black and white film, the hypnotic pacing of the images will cause viewers to experience a gamut of hallucinatory color effects. Straight and Narrow is a study in subjective color and visual rhythm. The Flicker is a legendary film that is said to have caused members of the audience to faint due to the optical flickering effect of the black and white alternations. It consists of only 5 different frames: a warning frame, two different title frames and a black and a white frame.
Screening of Straight and Narrow, 1970, b&w 10”, sound, 16mm
on Thursday 31 January at 19.00
Screening of The Flicker, 1966, b&w 30”, no sound, 16mm
on Saturday 16 February at 19.00
Nathan Hylden’s (Minnesota, 1978) work contains the most physical approach to imagination and speculative thought. His painting originates in a process of reproduction that makes use of stencils to transfer positive or negative forms onto the canvas, much like different filmic frames are projected onto a single screen. The stencils are dragged across the paintings leaving their traces in differents patterns and places. The technique allows for a complex interweaving of different layers and patterns that provoke optical illusions of depth (space) and movement (time). Hylden reinterprets painting as a means of reproduction, literally by transferring the shapes and outlines of objects and sheets of paper, onto the flat surface of the canvas. Generally his work is calling to mind the misty, sfumato spaces of film noir. In their syncopated relation to time, the serial and binary minimalism of black lines goes back to the tradition of structural film among others.