Discoveries | Booth 1C50
At Art Basel Hong Kong 2015, the gallery will present a series focusing on Karmelo Bermejo's approach to the monochrome.
Blank (Virgin), a white monochrome has been made by applying hundreds of layers of paint over the course of a year to achieve the form of a blank canvas, without stretchers or staples. In Blank (Virgin) the medium of paint is no longer used as a means of representation but is, in its very essence, an authentic monochrome made of pure paint. Unlike traditional monochromes, made by applying paint to the surface of the fabric, here Bermejo restores the notion of veracity to the nature of the monochrome. The work is no longer intended solely as a means of representing white but instead plays on the history of the monochrome by carrying the notion through to its extreme: an absolute monochrome.
In his Fiscal Oil Paint series, Bermejo challenges the buyer not to declare the acquisition of the piece and the gallery not to declare its sale. The optical illusion of colour in the monochrome paintings is configured using glazes to obtain a solid colour identical to the standard appearance of manufactured oil paint. The inscription 'Undeclared Income' in the top layer of paint is legible only from certain points of view and under certain lighting conditions; otherwise the text remains hidden. In this sense, the works carry the 'secret noise' of the buying-and-selling performativity they provoke.
Together these works form part of Bermejo's broader practice, interrogating contemporary ideas of representation and the financial and cultural value of artworks, from within the context of art history.
Karmelo Bermejo (b.1979, Malaga, Spain) lives and works in San Sebastian, Spain. He recently participated in the Yokohama Triennale 2014 (curated by Yasumasa Morimura) in Japan and his work was exhibited at the 2010 Liverpool Biennale, UK.
At Art Basel Hong Kong, a film by award-winning artist John Akomfrah will be screened as part of the fair's short film program 'Reperform, Reconstruct, Represent' on Monday 16 March, 1.30 pm at the agnès b. CINEMA. Peripeteia (Greek: περιπέτεια; a reversal of circumstances, or turning point), a film by John Akomfrah takes as its starting point two drawings by the sixteenth century artist Albrecht Dürer. The portraits are amongst the earliest Western representations of black people. Akomfrah uses the film to imagine their lives. Later this year, Akomfrah will participate in the Venice Biennale 2015 where a new work by the artist will be screened.
Alongside John Akomfrah's successful career in cinema and television, his work has been widely shown in museums and galleries including the Liverpool Biennial; Documenta 11, Kassel; the De Balie, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. A major retrospective of Akomfrah's gallery-based work with the Black Audio Film Collective premiered at FACT, Liverpool and Arnolfini, Bristol in 2007. His films have been included in international film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto and Sundance, among others. In 2008, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).