BRAND NEW GALLERY
9 March – 30 April 2011
Opening: 9 March, 6-9 pm
The works of Fendry Ekel explore the dark side of human ambition. Often based on photographs from various archives, Ekel excavates the collective memory, critically analyzing the use of art and architecture as ideological propaganda, its rhetorical and persuasive impact, while also investigating the boundaries where ethics and esthetics overlap.
Fascinated by esthetic creation as a vehicle of power through the seductive, manipulative and intimidating value of images, Ekel uses his work to examine and reveal the structures of meaning behind form. His compositions are based on a methodical and ordered presentation of the subject, often seen from a frontal position; the act of painting an image is like a “pictorial scan”, the first formal moment of a deeper analysis of the underlying structures and meanings.
Ekel chooses apparently familiar, neutral images that can seem vague at first glance. However, the hidden themes represent important facts and historical moments that have led to innovation but which above all have determined the great dramas of recent history. Behind the apparent order lies chaos. There is no moralism in Ekel’s works, for they are more like invitations to the viewer to abandon the usual way of seeing and to look for new interpretations.
Ekel is strongly influenced by his mentor, Luc Tuymans. As such, for both artists, the relationship between the image and the title of the work is particularly important, as in, for example, Srebrenican Horse, one of the works on display, where the title connects the image of chess pieces to recent history – specifically to the occupation of the Bosnian city of Srebrenica in 1995 and the subsequent deportations and genocide.
The game of chess thus becomes the subject of Ekel’s work. As Nabokov wrote in his autobiography Speak, Memory: “It should be understood that competition in chess problems is not really between White and Black, but between the composer and the solver (just as in a first-rate work of fiction the clash is not between the characters but between the author and the world)”; for Fendry Ekel, the clash is between the artist and the audience.
Fendry Ekel was born in Jakarta in 1971, and moved to Amsterdam with his family in his teens, later becoming a student of Luc Tuymans at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Rijksakademie. He has obtained international recognition from numerous solo and group shows in museums and galleries. In 2009, the Hudson Valley Center in New York dedicated a major solo exhibition to him. His works are in public and private collections in Europe, Asia and the US. In 2010 he received an award from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.
9 March – 30 April 2011
Brand New Gallery
Via Farini, 32 20159 Milan
Open Tuesday - Saturday
Published by Brand New Gallery
Text by Marco Tagliafierro
Information and photo materials:
skype: adicorbetta stampa
Corso Magenta 10 . 20123 Milan