Lucian Wester and Niek Hendrix at CINNNAMON

Artists: Lucian Wester and Niek Hendrix

Exhibition title: Lucian Wester: Libri /Niek Hendrix: Mouseion

Venue: CINNNAMON, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Date: May 19 – July 7, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

In the North gallery, we bring two bodies of works by Lucian Wester – Imago Temporis and Libido Libri.

Imago Temporis (currently) consists of five unique artist books, that the artist compiled of pages from old World Press Photo catalogues. By disassembling the sections and pages of these books, and carefully reassembling them in a new order, these sometimes famous photographs can be seen in a new light. In some cases, the photo was originally divided over two pages. In Wester’s books, two halves form a new whole – indeed new images are created.

In the proces of reassembling, Wester looks for formal similarities. Thus images are taken out of their context, and re-contextualized on aesthetic qualities. This may cause friction – big and shocking historical events juxtaposed with forgotten moments – but it seems just right this way.

The quality of a good (press) photo is that it captures a story in one image. The quality of Wester’s books is that he places these stories within the greater drama of human existence. Imago Temporis forms a kaleidoscopic view of the world and recent history.

Wester examines how we assign meaning to an image, and makes us aware of the significance of context in this proces, but there is also us, the looking actors. In his second body of work in this exhibition, Libido Libri, Wester combines modern art with vintage pornographic/erotic photography of naked women. Again, the process is led by looking for formal semblances. For Libido Libri: Willem de Kooning used old catalogues of this Rotterdam-born painter. In Libido Libri: The Abstracts we see numerous modern abstract paintings juxtaposed with images of female sexuality. Although looking at art and looking at erotica as two vastly different ways of looking, Wester books cause a short circuit in our brains, a pleasant confusion.

In the South gallery, a body of new paintings by Niek Hendrix (1985) is on view.

Hendrix is a conceptual painter whose work, like Wester’s in the North gallery, deals with the creation of meaning. For Hendrix, painting seems to be the means to an end. The brush stroke is irrelevant, colour is absent. It is the act of painting however, that is of importance. By physically copying – and altering – his source material, Hendrix can claim ownership over the images.

Im many of his work the images carry an art historical weight. Black and white copies of panel of baroque still lifes, trompe l’oeils, refer to the story and meaning of painting itself. Exemplary is the work Sisyphus (the Origin of Painting) (2015), a work based on Die Efindung der Malerei van Wilhelm Eduard Daege (1805-1881). This work, a mythical reference to the origins of painting, is copied by Hendrix six times, gradually changing from too (underexposed) bright to (overexposed) dark. A copy with the perfect light balance is missing. Hendrix plays a witty game with myth and meaning, references, and his own position as a painter of the twenty-first century.

In his recent work, the art-historical references are less prominent (yet still present). Instead, Hendrix derives his material from more diverse sources. Several images refer to water; flying (defying gravity) seems to be a theme as well. Dove, aeroplane, helicopter, Space Shuttle; an image of a WWII fighter plane going down – is Hendrix implicitly referring to human hubris? One has to think of the Icarus myth, like the story of Sisyphus a tale of hubris and its consequences.

Central to the exhibition are the two cabinets. These cabinets are the most clear indication of Hendrix’ lateral mode of creating. Not unlike in Wester’s book, new meaning is generated by reshuffling (visual) information.

Lucian Wester, Libri, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Lucian Wester, Libri, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Lucian Wester, Imago Temporis I-VI, 2018

Lucian Wester, Imago Temporis, 2018

Lucian Wester, Imago Temporis, 2018

Lucian Wester, Imago Temporis, 2018

Lucian Wester, Imago Temporis, 2018

Lucian Wester, Imago Temporis, 2018

Lucian Wester, Libido Libri, Willem de Kooning, 2018

Lucian Wester, Libido Libri, the Abstracts, 2018

Lucian Wester, Libido Libri, Willem de Kooning, 2018

Lucian Wester, Libri, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Niek Hendrix, Mouseion, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Niek Hendrix, Mouseion, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Niek Hendrix, Mouseion, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Niek Hendrix, Mouseion, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Niek Hendrix, Mouseion, 2018, exhibition view, CINNNAMON, Rotterdam

Niek Hendrix, Arrow, 2018, oil and pencil on panel, 28,5x38cm

Niek Hendrix, Cabinet (Lateralus), 2018, oil and pencil on panels and wooden cabinet, 213x110x21,5cm

Niek Hendrix, Vanitas, 2018, oil and pencil on panel, 28,5x38cm

Niek Hendrix, Cabinet (The Myth of Giotto’s Red Circle), 2018, oil and pencil on panels and wooden cabinet,160x110x21,5cm

Niek Hendrix, Study of a Window (Inferno), 2018, oil and pencil on panel, 90×67,5cm

Niek Hendrix, The Hand of The Artist, 2018, oil and pencil on panel 28,5x38cm

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