Obvious Links: A Proposition by Léonie Vanay for Urgent Paradise and Thomas Koenig for Rats Collectif

6th June - 4.July 2015
Opening: Friday 6th June from 6pm

The LINKS project explores exchanges between different artists, curatorial projects and collectives. In June we host two artists who are also involved with running off-spaces: Thomas Koenig for Rats Collectif (Vevey) and Léonie Vanay for Urgent Paradise (Lausanne) worked together on a proposition for the project space.

The basis for the collaboration is the shared interest of both artists in processes of repetition and seriality in printmaking. The exhibition develops a framework to show Vanay’s woodcuts in relation to Koenig’s laser prints. Despite the differences in technique and temporality – the slow, artisanal process of woodcut versus the quick, technological aspect of laser printing – there are multiple formal and conceptual correspondences between their practices. Motifs, patterns and matrixes are reused and recombined repeatedly, creating the sense of a potentially infinite declination of elements and structures. Each piece also includes traces of the others, extending in the exhibition to relations among the two artists’ work.

The fascination for structure, repetition as well as the formal qualities of everyday, industrial material is also reflected in both artists use of frame packaging as a constituent element of the final piece. This importance of the frame, and the observation that the functional supports of art and exhibition making can produce both formal and conceptual correspondences with the work itself, provides the starting point for using masking tape as a frame and limit between the work and the architectural qualities of the space.

The tape is on the one hand purely functional, providing a barrier for color to splash over from the walls into other parts of the space. On the other hand, it is printed with a color pattern that echoes the artists’ work, playing on the duality between a functional border and a decorative frieze. In a further turn, a close look will reveal that both artists’ signatures appear as a repeated pattern on the tape. While this may seem like an ironic comment on authorship and the status of ‘work’, as well as the contested status of the frame, it is also a reference to the repeated logos of production firms or shipping companies on the tape used to seal boxes, thus creating an interplay between the singular status of the artist signature and the excessive seriality of the logo.

The tape has a curious dual function: on the one hand it isolates the work from the space, creating two-dimensional white spaces in which the traces and inscriptions in the prints can be read almost like the pages of a book. On the other hand it emphasizes the spatial qualities of the work and links the blank page to the functions and practices that surround it.