Halo - Morgan Betz, Etta Säfve, Torsten Slama, Lothar Hempel, Kristine Hymøller
Galerie Fons Welters - Playstation
28 May – 17 Jul 2004
Playstation proudly presents Halo, a drawing show with works by 5 international artists. The artists in Halo share an attitude towards the work surrounding them: a romantic belief in, or fascination for, the power of the irrational and the unreal, a longing for both the idyllic as its negation - sometimes purposefully naïve, sometimes controlled and self-conscious.
Morgan Betz's (Amsterdam, 1974) brightly coloured crayon drawings are best described as electrically charged fever dreams about a parallell universe. His work is usually inspired by imagery found in low culture (photographs of Elvis on Hawaiï, or characters from Dragonball Z, for instance), or explicitly referring to the outsider art of thrift-store painting. Betz hints at realistic representation, but his otherworldly use of colour complicates easy digestion. The works radiate an almost tangible, glowing energy.
Etta Säfve (Uppsala, 1973) creates large-scale drawings with stencils and spraypaint. In her work, references to her Scandinavian roots are never far away: nature is her biggest source of inspiration. The moody shades of grey which dictated her earlier installations and photography, have given way to colours in these new series. From within sparkling clouds of spraypaint, abstracted leaves, branches, flowers and birds float by. Säfve interprets paradise, creates her own hortus conclusus - in which subdued threats lurk behind the lush splendour.
Things also seem ominous in the work of Torsten Slama (Oostenrijk, 1967). His meticulously drawn works strongly remind one of the esthetics of vintage science fiction: abandoned modernist architecture, expressionless characters, and landscapes constructed in an alienating, schematic fashion. When there are people in Slama's drawings, then they are acting in a vacant though determined manner; their gazes betraying resignation, or reconciliation with the inevitable. The figures in the drawings by Lothar Hempel (Cologne, 1966), whose work usually has strong narrative-conceptual tendencies, can also give the impression to be waiting for fate to settle things, but they are dreamier, more emotional: they seem to be very comfortable in their role of fantasy creature. Hempel skilfully combines precise pencil lines with more abstract pictorial elements.
Kristine Hymøller's large-scale compositions, in which abstracted landscape- and architectural elements criss-cross and meander frantically from border to border, are in many cases beyond representation - her drawings (recently also on canvas) are vibrating, intense overall compositions, constructed from different techniques. For Halo, Hymøller created a site-specific work, directly on the gallery walls.