Inspiried by the exhibition If you melted, I would melt myself in to you at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art in London.
Erasing - wiping out - eliminating
These are the techniques and terms that the artists presented in the exhibition Eraserhead are dealing with. Melting as a concept is here brought to the next level: to the point of the dissolution of the material. Through this process something new emerges. At the same time, nothing can be erased completely: The remains of the original objects are still present in the newly formed shapes: the traces left behind are still visible. The artists erase and transform the visuel information, and in doing so, they have to include the eliminated part in the concept of their new draft. Whatever emerges is thereby responding to the erased parts. In 1953, when Robert Rauschenberg was still at the beginning of his carrier, he asked Willem de Kooning if he would give one of his drawings to him, so he could erase it. In erasing art, Rauschenberg created his own art that gained its significance through the previous creation. An act of patricide and birth.
Erasing, sanding and eliminating are procedures that employ the materiality of the medium. New motifs emerge from the existing objects and at the same time the characteristics of the medium paper are being made visible: its vulnerability, its fragility, its evanescence.
Mark Sheinkman first covers the complete surface of the paper with graphite powder, in which he subsequently erases abstract shapes and forms. By sanding, polishing and rubbing onto the paper he penetrates the space of the image in a very tactile way. Applying different levels of pressure to the surface he creates the incredible effect of depth. The gestural moment in this process leaves an impression of movement as well as stagnation. Bertram Hasenauer tends to work in a similar way. He covers the paper with a tight grid of deep indigo-blue colour that has been drawn with finely dashed lines. On this field of colour he creates various elements of nature or landscapes by erasing: branches, trees, clouds or the moon. These illuminated shapes, liberated from the dark (resemble Michelangelo's platonic idea of the sculptural form already preexisting in the stone, that just needs to be liberated) are reduced in such a way, that the landscapes turn into an abstract Space.
Alex Hamilton makes photocopies, wipes out surfaces, adds drawing and eventually repeats the process. He presents urban worlds, which combine constantly changing perspectives. The snapshot gets blurred and complemented through new images. You recognise processes of movement and time. As if he shows an insight in futuristic worlds, in which the current reality is blended with illusions of the future. Also John Sparagana is in his works referring to vanity. He takes images from fashion magazines, tears them, fatigues them, crumples them up, and patches them back together after that. The glossiness of these magazines and their world become damaged. And like the pictures lose their flawless semblance, the praised products and the youthful striking beauty of the models will sooner or later lose their flawlessness.
By erasing you have to refer to the former existing images. The piece cannot free itself from its context.
Christian Holstad works with black and white pictures from newspapers, which he changes and alienates through erasing and overdrawing. The reinterpretation of the narratives overshadows the original context. Still the echo of the primary images soaks through. The alienation shows a different perspective of the reality, but continuous to refer to the former one. Jürgen von Dückerhoff is using pages from books, with mainly historical motifs he edits in a very grotesque manner. The motifs are carried away from their usual surroundings and find themselves in a surreal dream, which is unmasking the pretty glance and exposing them in an ironic way: The portrait of the war general masked with flowers or the admiring woman, kneeling on a pile of shells. Be it the famous group picture after the Jalta conference or the portrait of a star: also Jonathan Callan uses photos. He changes them ironically, in wiping out the most characteristic part: the face. Serious facial expressions dissolve; you see blurred figures that brake with the seriousness and sobriety of the motifs and their iconic charisma. Holstad, Dückerhoff and Callan all questioning the represented by erasing the surface and peal out a core, which shows a different perspective.
Through the process of wiping out the former existing images, erasing can be become a statement.
Hansjörg Schneider uses postcards of famous non-objective artworks (Mondrian, Albers, Klein). He destroys the surface, wipes and moves the colours. The transformed piece still quotes its source, but in being completely deconstructed, Schneider is with its components (colour pigments of the postcard) succeeding in constructing a totally new image.
A special depth characterizes the art piece that emerges through erasing. This is expressed on an aesthetical or a reflexive level. The metamorphosis of the image, beginning with the original and ending with the final result, has to be taking in to consideration. The process of the formation is part of the image.