26.09.2020 - 06.11.2020

Florian Meisenberg

"Onehundredfortythousandonehundredsixty hours later"

Hovering in the unchanging air of a single screen, fifteen years of painting hang in simultaneous layers. Streaks of movement cut through at discrete intervals, accompanied by a soft, synthetic keening like a window being wiped in space. In this way, fragmentary glimpses of the layer below are revealed incrementally, like crop circles in a field of growing wheat. The effect is of a dynamic composite, like a subway poster that has been torn off and repasted time and time again, or layers of sedimentary rock tracking backwards through time.

The process is improvised and collaborative, yet the act of creation itself has been reversed. Where traditional painting is additive, these streaks and slashes are subtractions. Their medium is the negative space created by destruction. In fact, a kind of excavation, wherein these paintings and past experiments are unveiled and reanimated in dialogue with ideas from the present moment. The streaks move forward in time but cut backwards, so that all the movements that have ever been made, or are being made now, in this space, exist in parallel like the paintings themselves. The program captures each new movement and stores it within an expanding archive, re-releasing them sporadically across the layers so that they appear as ghosts to the present moment.

Each slash is decisive and subtle, driven by an unseen hand in motion. There is an air of discovery about each one, as if the maker did not know until the moment of creation that this was the mark they would make. Creation requires such repetition, trial and error, imprecision. It demands a spilling over, a willingness to get it wrong and make a mess. Here, these fits and starts are not tidied away. They dangle oddly in the light, flickering in and out of focus alongside the spectral shadows of past motion. There is no final slash, so there is no final painting. Only a steady accumulation of abstraction and complication, challenging when, if ever, an image or idea can be said to be finished.

There is something compelling about these lingering stains, abstracted from the hand or keypad that created them. As if they have been imbued with an enduring life of their own. As if the painting is bleeding out or gazing inwards, probing its own history for answers. Perhaps even setting off across the canvas, determined to become something new. A stain is hopeful. By its frank persistence, a stain implies that the image it supports will endure.

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