Sebastian Hammwöhner, A.R. Penck & Jannis Varelas
Booth no. 611
Iconic and powerful, the works presented in Jackal speak to the brutality of the 21st century, and with anthropological reasoning antiquated history's relationship to current events within the control mechanisms of our technological endgame.
A.R. Penck is éminence grise and foil in this dialog with two emerging artists who mine the primitive with contemporary twists. Penck’s pictographic language and visual economy of means underscore the works of Sebastian Hammwöhner (Berlin) and Jannis Varelas (Vienna/Athens).
Hammwöhner’s multifaceted work includes site-specific installations, pastel drawings, and sculpture. He appropriates, the design motifs of archaic and contemporary artisanal rug makers. South American (pre-Columbian, Aztec, Peru, et al.) or Middle East carpets (Afghan, Persian) are free-hand doppelgangers. The repeating geometric patterns are altered in scale and size, reversed or upside down from the original. Their initial impression is of a vitrine containing an actual relic and a virtual representation of a once functional or ceremonial object. Hand-in-hand with his two-dimensional works are square cut wooden posts that are ritualistically hand wrapped with geometric precision in some parts, less so in others, depending on the thickness, texture, and color of the wool he uses.
The new large-scale mixed media drawings of Varelas are vivisections of the aberrant body; the head, arms, torso, legs, et al. Based in Vienna/Athens, Varelas has a distinct way of using gesture to communicate mental states. Existentialist, these new anagrammatic drawings refer to our culture of contemporary cannibalism with its insatiable devouring of information. His influences include the critical writings of Georges Bataille, in particular the short-lived ‘Documents’ journal published from 1929-1930. Paralleling Bataille’s violent underbelly of Surrealism with a grotesque esotericism, Varelas ruptures the conception of standardized social norms trapped in the virtual panopticon. They are sentient figures that belong to the analog epoch of Homo sapiens presaging the calamitous trans-humanism espoused by dubious futurists. Seemingly bizarre, in a roundabout way the works still relate to popular culture; Drawings from the “White Lodge” series are born out of a David Lynch episode from “Twin Peaks”. The darkness of “The Diver” embeds a sense memory distortion of Edvard Munch as channeled through Goya’s late black paintings.