Galerie DUMONTEIL Shanghai is pleased to present Synthesis, Ugo Schildge's second solo exhibition with the gallery, featuring 24 artworks that showcase Schildge's most recent development on his mixed-media pictorial creations. Combined with a reflection on social reality, the artist initiated a multi-chapter cycle started with Pollen in Shanghai in 2018, Nectar in NYC in 2019, Essence in Paris in 2020, and now the loop closes and anticipates the Synthesis of his artistic research around the balance of nature.
Using the forest fire as a major vehicle, the exhibition highlights the paradox in natural phenomenons, philosophical reflections as well as the artist's practice. The fire ravages, destroys and devours the environment and its inhabitants with great violence, yet it is also an integral part of the forest ecosystem. Long-interval, low-intensity wildfires allow the forest to breathe; it fertilizes the soil and eliminates weeds and animal parasites.
Based on a similar contradiction, Schildge contrasts the raw materials of construction sites — concrete, plaster, and wood — with generally delicate, fragile, ephemeral, or incandescent subjects. This same concrete, the accomplice of modern urbanism that hinders nature, is used to create a flower, a bird, or a tree. Just as the forest fires opened a new chapter in the ecology of the forest, Schildge's creations bring colorful and diverse forms to materials that we perceive as monotonous, rigid, or cold, sending us messages from nature.
In Pollen, his first solo exhibition at Dumonteil Shanghai in 2018, Schildge has already emphasised the importance of 'camouflage' as an expressive technique, 'I have always been interested in the distortion of images, such as hiding or emphasizing an image depending on your viewing angle. "Camouflage" is essential to my work. Instead of hiding the idea completely, I prefer to cover a small part, maybe a secret, a taboo. And this can be achieved through "camouflage".'
In this exhibition, camouflage is used to show the presence of people and other animals. For instance, in the Jungle Bomb, the expressive power of the vegetal elements takes precedence over a human existence in the form of a bust that merges with the landscape, making it almost invisible. Coexisting with the fire is the excess of human desires, evoking our introspection and reflection.
To this series on fires, a few Water Lilies are added as a soothing conclusion. Water is, therefore, the answer to fire, restoring the equilibrium dear to the artist.
The artist chooses his side — the untamable wild nature. The domestication of the latter appears to us only through the sunflowers, cultivated in a field or gathered in a bouquet in homage to the master Van Gogh. Meanwhile, the rotating frame customised for Water Lilies II and The Bouquet is both a review of the artist's point of departure revolving 'cogwheels', and a dynamic interpretation of the Cyclical Movement of Tao.
Through this exhibition, Ugo Schildge gives us a 'Synthesis' of the multi-faceted nature. He assumes a non-demanding ecological posture and confronts us with the deterioration of our ecosystem.
Press release courtesy Dumonteil Contemporary.