29 April – 18 June 2016
exhibition opening 28 April 2016, 7 pm in the presence of the artist
Fern, palm leaves and mats of interlocked roots spread over Simon Halfmeyer’s paintings. They overgrow and cover linear architectures. Like flood lights, surface stations and television sets they are part of a fictional jungle. A closer look reveals reappearing elements, like the sea-shaped spot that interrupts the image or the overlapping layers of palm leaves in the work wallpaper “Hamburg”, which simulate a thicket of leaves by repetition.
The source of Simon Halfmeyer’s works is his constantly growing archive of images, photographs, press cutouts and drawings of architectural, urban and – again, to a mayor part – jungle plants and elements. Halfmeyer copies them in hand and digitalizes them, overlaps them by means of projection and assembles them in order to form ever new fictions, utopias of urban and natural wilderness.
Utopias concerning the South Seas can be found in many urban places. Company foyers and public swimming pools tend to welcome their visitors with artificial exotic flora. Greenhouses present arranged tropical worlds and the flower shop next door offers palm trees and cactuses for little money. Many of these urban South Sea fantasies derive from fictional literary sources and movies with as little relation to the South Seas as the jungle in the foyer.
It is by creating such fictions in his works that Simon Halfmeyer reveals their artificiality. Palm leaves are blown up and rasterized until they become unrecognizable, glass plates and apertures give way to the wall behind the work. Printing plates are arranged in an erratic manner creating a pattern of white stripes reminiscent of the irregular flicker of a broken TV screen. Traces of their production interrupt the otherwise even surfaces of his works in oil, derived by means of silhouette technique. They incorporate a production process in the works, interrupting the idyll and uncovering their fictitiousness.
Simon Halfmeyer is a draughtsman and a graphic artist at heart, who explores the boundaries of his medium with passion. He takes the drawing into sculpture and the surrounding architecture into the drawing. He draws on and over prints, experimenting with techniques and content, using digitalization, exposure techniques and developing new approaches as well as processes that become independent of their own base materials and the limits of two dimensionality.
His experiments with the elements of his works lead at its most to extreme forms of abstraction: Architectural lines densify into radial forms reminiscent of star explosions. They contrast with the figurativeness of other works and still refer, if so in a more liberal form, to the linearity of contemporary sky scrapers and office architecture. Layered over deliquescent color fields ,they celebrate the amorphous in opposition to the grid preset by the uniform scheme of windows and architectural lines.
The exhibition presents drawings and prints ranging from small sizes to wall covering dimensions, prints defined by repetition and others only functioning as unique works of art. Objects named „models“ transport the idea of wall drawings into movable three dimensional miniatures of Halfmeyer’s works. A special section of the exhibition is devoted to former temporary wall drawings. For the first time, a series of etchings assembled in one room documents these works now lost to the public eye and invites the visitor to compare and indulge in these „lost wall drawings“ preserved in print.