Review Hernan Bas at Victoria Miro
12 may 2014 by Charlotte Meddings
art:i:curate's contributor Charlotte Meddings, an independent curator based in London, visited the Hernan Bas’ show at Victoria Miro and shares her review in our journal.
Rule breaking, clashing colours, bold forms, ostentatious patterns and elaborate aesthetics are the building blocks of Hernan Bas’ 4th show at Victoria Miro.
Bas presents 10 works, all painted this year and inspired by Memphis Group.
Memphis group was an ‘80s Milan based furniture and product design collective, founded by Ettore Sottsass, one of Italy’s architectural greats who then in his 60s got together with a group of young and aspiring architects to create a new line of furniture.
Originally dubbed The New Design the name took on a new presence when renamed Memphis Group after his record player stuck repeatedly on the Bob Dylan lyric ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)". He exclaimed: 'let’s call the group that!' and the name like the record stuck!
Hanging out with me at the show today is the wonderful Mr.B, fellow artist and curator. We are immediately faced with garish colours and crowded domestic scenes with careful product placement in a nod to Memphis Group which are at times loud and overwhelming.
Heavy blocks of colour are embedded in more painterly strokes and textured specks of spray paint.
Stylish young men lounge in paint splattered clothes in 'To the Artist', or stand awkwardly almost all consumed by the array of surfaces and objects in 'Running out of Space'.
The Memphis look rules style over function and for Bas satisfies a fascination with a design movement that works to a more sculptural aesthetic, and it is this aesthetic that Bas is exploring and resurrecting into a new light.
Some of the paintings feel dated, but perfectly so as comment on a period now three decades ago. For Bas the body of work is 'exploring new ways of interpreting a definitive and somewhat overlooked period in cultural history, developing works centred around the kinds of characters who populate my practice, imagining who is the boy/man who would make this sort of space his own, what his home might look like… and what sort of psychosis would lead to this?' Bas continues “In my opinion, living in ‘Memphis’ means more than a love of bright colours, pattern and uncomfortable seating. It was an impassioned moment, a daring, bold-formed and wildly influential movement that is just catching our rear-view attention again."
Above the shouts of geometric forms and colour Mr.B points to a small edge in 'Stoneware Still'. It’s the tiny delicate imperfections on a piece like this that expose the real beauty of the work, bringing it to life.
And in the noise suddenly silence descends and delicate beauty whispers for attention.
'Memphis Living' is on show now at Victoria Miro until 31st May.
The exhibition continues with a series of works on paper at Victoria Miro Mayfair, 14 St George Street, W1S 1FE
For more information on the exhibition click here.
Hernan Bas, Victoria Miro Gallery, Image Courtesy of Charlotte Meddings