An off-the-beaten-path exhibition area in Rome’s Pretorio neighborhood, removed from the vacationer circuit, Indipendenza is a kind of “it’s important to learn about it” locations. By all proof, its director prefers it that approach: the identify does seem on the constructing’s entry buzzer, however as soon as inside, you’re by yourself, with out listing or signage to help. (It’s on the highest flooring.) Indipendenza’s program has factors of contact with the worldwide discourse in a city the place that sign tends to be jammed by antiquity. Whereas not a business gallery, exhibits lately have included works by established artists resembling Louise Lawler, Klara Lidén, and Larry Johnson. Neither above floor nor below it, Indipendenza willfully occupies a purgatorial station.
Such layers of ambiguity kind a becoming backdrop to waters of night time, Pádraig Timoney’s presentation of work and mirrors. Organized by Gérard Faggionato, the exhibition feels much less like a survey present pulled from a deep historic stock of manufacturing—the correspondences among the many works are too neat—than one in all lately made works knowledgeable by a multi-decade historical past of dialogue between artist and curator. That, too, is curation: an goal skilled relationship serving to to kind an exhibition and bestowing a gestalt. This mentioned, displaying new works in a nonprofit area makes for an fascinating form of bardo, market-wise. Fascinating, too: it’s a present of wall works hung within the classical method that reads the best way a site-specific set up may. There’s a couple of sort of in-betweenness at work right here.
Timoney is blessed with a poetic eye and a deft hand. On a stroll down the road he’s prone to discover extra subtleties of fabric life and context than you or I would. In waters of night time, nevertheless, he’s working in a different way, drilling deep right into a restricted set, as an artist sometimes feels the necessity to do. The world is for essentially the most half left on the door; the present’s issues zero in on what occurs within the studio, the negotiation between painter and portray, and the way the attention behaves. Not relying solely on paint, although: this present options quite a few mirrors, not industrially produced however hand coated (isn’t that portray?) by the artist. Timoney can paint the hell out of an image when he needs to, however he additionally has a repute as an alchemist intent on inventing processes acceptable to wrangling a selected picture onto a floor. Right here, the alchemy ropes within the chemistry of mirror making; that is much less a present of images than of picturing. drill down right into a relationship between notion and the picture with out handicapping the method by deciding on a picture? Make use of one thing, like a mirror, that generates its personal imagery. Utilizing a mirror as a surrogate for portray is like printing the phrase “phrase” with out having to assign it a font.
Focusing myriad questions on notion and actuality, self and setting, the mirror is a trope with a wealthy historical past in all the humanities. A trope is psychological, one thing of the thoughts. The mirror is a portal into ourselves. A mirror shows partial proof of actuality’s grammar whereas on the identical time defining its limits by hinting at one other actuality behind or past it. With mirrors standing in for work, waters of night time, ostensibly about portray and notion, finally ends up theatrical, cinematic, literary. We transfer not into the visible areas which might be remoted throughout the particular person works however reasonably between mentioned areas, considerably self-consciously so.
We take a mirror’s silvering with no consideration; in that sense, we don’t see mirrors anymore. However change a mirror’s silvering to a different steel—to gold or to copper, as Timoney does in a number of works right here—and also you’ve modified not what’s mirrored however what displays. One other wall work, Half-Damaged Mirror for Rome, a one-off, is one thing of a pitcher’s balk: the verso of the glass has been frosted, which neuters the silvering, successfully producing a mirror that doesn’t mirror. Slyly, although, the outward-facing floor of the glassstill does. It “mirrors.” In one other room, a big pane of glass given mirroring remedy on either side leans cradled within the trough used to make all of the mirrors within the exhibition. (Chemical substances are poured onto horizontal items of glass, after which the mirrors are stood upright within the trough, for rinsing and to use different chemical substances because the artist could need.) Two going through mirrors on a single sheet of glass create an infinitely regressing reflection. However we are able to’t see it, and the grey opaque backs mock our voyeurism.
As we transfer via the rooms, mirrors mirror mirrors in addition to the number of work additionally on show. The work are of three varieties. There are abstractions—dry charcoal over dry white primer, pushed round and eliminated with a smooth brush—which Timoney collectively categorizes as Damaged Mirrors (by which he means nonreflecting reasonably than shattered). Taking on and lengthening his established curiosity in course of, the intention of the Damaged Mirrors, the artist defined in an e-mail, is “to open a sort of area, much like that digital area supplied by mirroring. The ‘imitation’ takes cues from the materiality of the particular mirrors—darker edges, swirls and smudges and liquid feeling. They’re the identical dimensions often because the mirrors. The depth varies barely, however the phantasm on the facet—the darkish edge, roughly the identical thickness as glass would have—is deliberate.”
In a number of different work, illusionistic area of one other type is created by the use of layering two unrelated pictures. The substratum was painted in acrylic, on high of which a second picture was painted, additionally canvas edge to canvas edge, in oil. Photograph developer was then strategically utilized, which eliminated the oil paint however left the acrylic unaffected. The unfavorable area left by the oil portray’s erasure reveals the constructive area of the acrylic. Locking twin vantages collectively in a single work, the shredded image is within the custom of Mimmo Rotella, Francis Picabia, even James Rosenquist.
In a hallway between two of the rooms, eleven mixing sticks in varied colours lean in opposition to the wall. All within the lineup are neatly painted or stained monochromes. They’re deliberate works, not instruments splattered from use; a number of are bisected, horizontally, by the addition of a second colour. Flanking them on both facet, one in all their quantity hangs on the wall. Is that one a “portray”? Are the leaners “sculptures”? In one other room, a pair of painted mixing sticks are wall mounted. If mixing sticks lined in paint and affixed to a wall may be thought-about a “portray,” then the query is begged: At what level does a portray change into a portray? When does life start?
Just one painted picture within the present is complete and unintruded upon. Rheila Veilchen Pastillen depicts a packet of pastilles, promoting itself as “since 1924.” The portray (displaying the packet solely, bereft of context; it’s Pop) hangs on a wall that’s lined with aged however still-vibrant vermillion-colored wallpaper, in place (we have been knowledgeable) since 1925. The portray addresses, selectively, the circumstances of its hanging, and the pastille “scents” the room with its personal historical past.
Mirrors are portals. This present opens onto an inward search. Timoney performs his playing cards near the vest however autobiography is unavoidable. The Irish painter was displaced from a long-term New York residency through the first wave of COVID-19, finally touchdown in Berlin, settled however unsettled. The tongue is international. The background shifts. The present’s array of spatial dislocations, which incorporates “roughly every thing I had made since being in Berlin,” mirror Timoney’s personal latest historical past. Something it is advisable know may be gleaned from the artwork on these partitions. But this, from the hand of a painter’s painter, could also be a present for painters. For the layman it’ll possible be on the mandarin facet. On the identical time, what’s an area like Indipendenza for, if to not event excessive analysis with out business concern? waters of night time displays the superstructure of the artwork context constructed to provide it a motive to exist—not simply this momentary bodily handle however the thought system of visible artwork.
On the core of Pádraig Timoney’s (b. 1968, Derry, Eire; lives and works in Berlin) follow is an ongoing investigation into the methods pictures are constructed, or reconstructed, via portray. Resisting a singular fashion, Timoney’s works are as a substitute united in method; every portray goals to seamlessly join a selected picture with each materials and course of. Usually inventing new processes in consequence, the works operate as an index or file of selections made whereas reveling within the shortcomings within the medium itself. By together with errors of translation and faultiness of recognition, abstraction and figuration by no means appear too far aside, usually showing on the verge of collapsing into each other. By means of these divergent modes, Timoney’s exhibitions in flip doc a selected period of time and analysis within the studio, reasonably than a standard inventive thesis. Latest solo exhibitions embody Imply Whereas, Farbvision, Berlin (2021); A Silver Key Can Open an Iron Lock Someplace, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York (2019); TKtitle, Lulu, Mexico Metropolis (2018); There Was a Examine Executed, Cleopatra’s, New York (2017); a lu tiempo de…, curated by Alessandro Rabbotini, Museo Madre, Naples (2014); and Fontwell Helix Feely, Raven Row, London (2013). Latest group exhibits embody gli Incontri Della Luna, Raucci/Santamaria Studio Mission, Milan (2022); Il “Valore” dell’Arte, Banca Profilo con Fondazione Per L’Arte, Rome (2019); Mute, Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London (2018); Markers, David Zwirner, London (2017); and The Portray Present, Up to date Artwork Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania (2016).
Rex Cause is a pseudonym, in mothballs because the Nineteen Eighties, throughout which decade he recurrently wrote and performed interviews for REAL LIFE Journal.