It takes a while before it hits you what the underlying idea is in this artwork by Alastair Mackie titled ‘the dominance of things’. A hint lies in the name of the gallery which promotes his works at Art Brussels ‘Division of Labour’ gallery. The artwork is layered and complex. The piece is what one could call kind of a’ realistic fiction’: carefully chosen real and natural elements (cowrie shells and limestone) transformed into a piece of art that reveals a fiction. The whole looks, intentional or not, like a time-clock which, in turn, is a metaphor for the alienation of a weighty but timeless characteristic human act. In filosophical labor terms, there are no sysiphosses left on the world who find their joie de vivre in the labour process. People no longer release the boulder, but continue to push it. So the work seems to convey the message that he who taught us that anyone who works and rests with same regularity as he struggled with his boulder, shall experience a pleasant relaxation which will make him part of the natural circle of nature, has no supporters. People are completely in the ban of the potential, the enchantment of the forthcoming or, in other words, the link between nature and culture fades away. And so a f(r)iction arises. The materials he uses, corroborate this interpretation. The composition of the frame can be traced back to the constitutive elements of the shells. With a little bit of imagination, you could even see the open spaces on the frame as the equivalent for the fictional element of the story. And so, things have come full circle.
With her works at Bozar on the occasion of the Belgian Young Artist Prize she proved to be an artist with a well taught through story. With her new work, shown at Brussels Art she adds another layer to her art. It is delicate, stunning art. A true honor to the guy brandishing the banner. The cultural hegemony is in these works made dependant to the (historical) individual time. That time is perfectly captured by the sequence of images (kinda like stop motion – a movie technique on the basis of which her works are construed). With a few brush strokes she is capable to to create movement so detailed that it kinda looks like a flickering movie from the past. Yet, another recurring theme in her works; nostalgia. Sigh.
Tchenkov’s filosophy is best represented by his work ‘confused fighter’. It summarizes the way he looks at the creative process. Coincidence, or, for the sake of its relevance to this blog, spontaneity. The brush strokes of the painting corroborate this vision. His art is not rational but rather emotional. It is not adult but rather childish and yet, the carton sword the ‘fighter’ holds in his hand turns this work from ‘a painting’ into ‘true contemporary mixed media art’. It fits in. Even more, it is art that puts a smile on your face when you look at it. By doing so, you look down and you notice the carton board. And instantly you grasp the concept behind it. It’s all about coincidence and spontaneity or how the best smile is the one you least expect.