Zeno X Gallery presents the exhibition low fixed media show by Bart Stolle (b. 1974 in Eeklo). This fifth solo exhibition includes new paintings, drawings and a wall sculpture.
Bart Stolle is working on a complex body of work that consists mainly of paintings, drawings and animated films. His works reveal a strong interest in computer language, science, space travel and artificial intelligence. Yet he does not use the most modern technologies or media to create his works, preferring instead manual, more labor-intensive techniques. He constructs his paintings very carefully according to certain rules that he imposes on himself: a black surface, for example, can never be painted directly on a blue background. Every action is like a precise move in a game of chess.
Certain colours recur frequently in his work, such as cobalt blue and cadmium orange. These were the first two colours to be produced on an industrial scale in the textile industry–and that can still be recognised today in the typical overalls. Stolle resolutely chooses an early modernist formal idiom in order to say as much as possible with as few resources as possible. Like the Suprematists, he hopes to suggest the invisible through elementary forms. Figures become stacks of squares and spheres, or a city becomes a busy map of geometric units. Bart Stolle explores similarities between computer logic and the human mind. In certain works, such as Guard, Who Paints a Horse These Days and Two Sea Creatures, Stolle imagines how a robot would look at human or animal organisms. Through this contemporary animism, he wants to evoke more involvement and commitment in a virtual, often distant world. Stolle strongly believes that the computer will never take over the role of the artist. An algorithm cannot replace human creativity.
The work Theme Park is a special collage of collected objects and items that refer to his painting practice; the pieces of tape are used to tape parts of a painting while the mixing stick represents his search for the ideal colour. In the past, Stolle postponed fixing the elements because this would have put an end to the associative game that precedes it.
In recent years, Bart Stolle has increasingly devoted himself to his drawing practice. On a daily basis, he develops works on paper in a purified formal idiom: repetitions and variations with dots, dashes and lines. In doing so, Stolle often refers to natural processes and evolutions as well as to self-organising patterns and statistics. The drawings are executed so meticulously that they almost seem to have been printed mechanically. In both his paintings and drawings, the artist seeks out the tension between the digitally generated 'appearance' and the underlying manual labor. Several of the new drawings are composed of RGB colours: from a distance, the colours seem to optically blend into black, while up close they are clear.
In parallel to the exhibition, Bart Stolle will present his book Meditations for Hotel Rooms. The publication includes 243 drawings and a letter from S.M.A.K. director Philippe Van Cauteren addressed to the artist. The project was inspired by Brian Eno's record Music for Airports, in which Eno composed soothing music for airport terminals. Meditations For Hotel Rooms is published by Oktober Publications and was designed by Atelier Sven Beirnaert.
Bart Stolle has held solo exhibitions at Convent in Ghent, Josilda da Conceição in Amsterdam, Ryan Lee Gallery in New York, S.M.A.K. in Ghent, De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam and STUK in Leuven. He has also taken part in group exhibitions at M HKA in Antwerp, the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Prague, Kunsthal KAdE in Amersfoort, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdansk, De Loketten van het Vlaamse Parlement in Brussels, De Warande in Turnhout, Coup de Ville in Sint- Niklaas, BUDA arts center in Kortrijk, Telic Gallery in Los Angeles, Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.
Press release courtesy Zeno X Gallery.