“It is as if our consciousness were...a ship on the great sea of the unconscious.” — Carl Jung, in lecture at ETH Zürich, 1934
“I should like very much to introduce myself to you and present you with my problem...” — Forrest Bess, in his first letter to Carl Jung, 1952
Lo Brutto Stahl is pleased to announce Conduits, the gallery’s fourth exhibition in their first year at 21 rue des Vertus.
The exhibition features three rarely seen paintings by Forrest Bess (1911-1977), a self-des- cribed “abstract primitive” and “visionary painter” who dedicated his life to documenting and interpreting recurring visions. When Bess awoke each morning, he would sketch the shapes he had seen on the inside of his eyelids, capturing them between sleep and wakefulness. As Bess searched for meaning, the writings of Carl Jung became his guide. “Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument,” says Jung. Like Jung, Bess believed that the symbols he saw in his dreams were the key to understanding who we are. In this way, Bess was a conduit of the unconscious. Transmitting what was otherwise intangible and fleeting, into hard matter, meant that his visions had the chance to stay for a more reasonable time.
In the exhibition, Lo Brutto Stahl gathers works by nine artists whose concern with channeling and shaping their own visions connects them across spatial and temporal distances. Conduits is an exhibition conceived as a conversation piece, imagining unusual connections between different artworks at the precipice of reality. Across a range of mediums and approaches, Lo Brutto Stahl has selected painting and sculpture that suggest two contrasting yet evocative psychological states: one evoking the external world through cold, industrial materials and fabrications, and another, more inward-looking metaphysical perception of consciousness.
Paintings to be exhibited range in their hallucinatory and atmospheric qualities, each ques- tioning states of solidity while proposing various levels of the subconscious mind. This in- cludes paintings by ML Poznanski (b.1984), Zoe Koke (b.1989), and Rao Fu (b.1978). Ang Ziqi Zhang’s (b.1994) depiction of a digital clock superimposed over interior watch mechanisms recalls Dalí’s interpretations of dream-like states.
Other works to be included are sculptures by Thibault Hiss (b.1997) like Keep up the good work, an elongated “dog” or “valet” made of plexiglass, aluminum, and epoxy; and Tête de mouton encastrée dans un accoudoir. A Philip Seibel sculpture installed overhead is reminiscent of both a mini-split air conditioning unit and an institutional office space delusion. Two works negating any direct representation complete the show: Photo Journal (11), a large, reflective wall-work by Jason Gringler composed of mirrored studio fragments and photographs; and a nontraditional red relief painting by Simon Callery emphasizing material construction over image.
— Lola Kramer