post-title Hugo Wilson | Coincidental Truths | Galerie Judin | 02.05.-11.07.2020

Hugo Wilson | Coincidental Truths | Galerie Judin | 02.05.-11.07.2020

Hugo Wilson | Coincidental Truths | Galerie Judin | 02.05.-11.07.2020

Hugo Wilson | Coincidental Truths | Galerie Judin | 02.05.-11.07.2020

until 11.07. | #2738ARTatBerlin | Galerie Judin currently shows the exhibition Coincidental Truths by the artist Hugo Wilson.

The most recent works by British artist Hugo Wil­son (*1982), all cre­ated between 2018 and 2020, playfully make use of three media: Wil­son’s stylis­tic and thematic strin­gency extends across 17 oil paint­ings, large-format charcoal draw­ings, and sculp­tures in bronze and ceram­ics.

In all three media, we wit­ness an exc­it­ing tightrope walk between past and pre­sent: In the manner of the Old Mas­ters—whose technique, col­oration, deploy­ment of light and com­po­si­tion Wil­son adapts with great ease—highly abs­tracted, amorphous objects merge into pow­erful, dynamic move­ments, most of which are cat­a­pulted almost centrifugally from the center of the pic­ture. In a twofold way, these works play with our col­lec­tive visual mem­ory and antic­ipa­tion. First of all, Wil­son’s dramatic com­po­si­tions par­tic­u­larly invoke the art of the Dutch and Ital­ian Baroque per­i­ods, i.e. the era that is today con­sid­ered to be almost emblem­atic of the Euro­pean paint­ing tra­di­tion. In addi­tion, Wil­son’s agglom­er­ates trig­ger numer­ous fig­u­ra­tive asso­cia­tions. In most cases, Wil­son delib­er­ately evokes such notions by hid­ing eyes and extrem­i­ties, feath­ers and furs, pearls and branches in his color swirls—pre­sent­ing them as a start­ing point for our search for fur­ther con­crete picto­rial con­tent. But regard­less of whether we try to trace the com­po­si­tion back to a spe­cific art-histor­ical source or whether we are enticed into identi­fying a dis­tinc­tive fig­u­ra­tive fea­ture: In the end, both trails prove to be fruit­less. Wil­son’s picto­rial inven­tions elude def­i­ni­tion. It is precisely this game with our expecta­tions that the artist is inter­ested in, as he aims at reveal­ing our desire for unambi­gu­ity—for those “truths” men­tioned in the title.

ART at Berlin - Courtesy of Galerie Judin - Hugo Wilson 2019
Hugo Wilson, Rebel Rebel, 2019, Öl auf Aluminium, 240 × 220 cm, © The Artist / Courtesy Galerie Judin, Berlin

In fact, the paint­ing Guru, with which the artist shat­ters the unifor­mity of this body of works, also pursues this con­cern. It is a real­is­tic por­trait of an Indian guru who, under the name of Sathya Sai Baba, caused an interna­tional sen­sa­tion. In 1950 he founded an ashram, which soon became a refuge for many Indi­ans and a place of aspi­ra­tion for sense-seeking Euro­peans and Amer­icans. Those who could not travel to the promised land them­selves, bought their par­tic­ipa­tion from afar. The dona­tions in part funded major char­i­ta­ble projects, turn­ing Sathya Sai Baba into an actual sav­ior. At the same time, crit­icism was voiced against the wealthy sect—and from the 1970s onwards, accu­sa­tions of abuse were lev­elled against the guru. How­ever, such allega­tions did lit­tle to harm his rep­u­ta­tion. The sect con­tin­ued to pros­per and today has branches in more than a hundred countries. With this paint­ing, Wil­son has cap­tured the con­tra­dictory recep­tion of Sathya Sai Baba: His guru can be both a men­ace and a promise of sal­va­tion. This ambiva­lence has an auto­bi­o­graph­ical background. In the 1990s, Wil­son’s father was briefly a fol­lower of the guru. His recep­tive­ness to varying ide­olo­gies repeat­edly put fam­ily life to a severe test. Through this paint­ing, Wil­son has made his peace with that part of his fam­ily’s history. He has not made any judge­ment on the sub­ject of the por­trait, but has cre­ated a projec­tion surface that allows for both per­spec­tives. Wil­son’s Guru thus becomes an auto­bi­o­graph­ical epi­logue of his title-lend­ing search for coinci­dental truths.

Reference: Galerie Judin

Exhibition period: Saturday, 2nd May – Saturday, 11th July 2020

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Exhibition Hugo Wilson – Galerie Judin | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin

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