STYX Projects is pleased to inaugurate its new London branch with "Knock, Knock," an exhibition of new work by American painter Eric Holmes and Austrian painter, performance and installation artist Marianne Vlaschits.
The warped figures found in Eric Holmes's paintings would easily be at home in a comic book. Indeed, the work occasionally appears to be more "illustrational" than "artistic" - if, of course, we are to ignore the fact that Pop art and other postmodern irruptions have effectively been working to erase the gap between the two seemingly disparate realms. With the paintings of Holmes, that erasing process becomes complete with a faux naiveté displayed in such paintings as "I Did A Doo It Was Scary Like A Clay Eel", where a punishing childish scatological humor predominates. Narrative and "self-expression" are equally neglected in favour of the random and senseless imaginary occurrence that, in translation, necessitates no more complicated grammar than the present simple: A freak eats chicken nuggets. An explorer stands on an iceberg. A man becomes an egg. Two rascals stare & The joke, if you can call it that, is in the blatancy of the images, whose lack of metaphorical value asserts these paintings' singularity.
Marianne Vlaschits, though born in 1983, has already made an indelible impression on the Vienna art scene through her paintings, installations, and performances. Quite often, her chosen media will collide, as was the case with the installation "Club Tropicana, Mon Cœur Amoureux," which was used as a parallel universe for the performance "Just Some Gigolos," when twenty male go-go dancers imported from Slovakia danced in front of it at the opening of the prestigious triennial group show "Lebt und Arbeitet in Wien" at Kunsthalle Wien. In whatever medium she attempts, a joyful, in-your-face tackiness pervades. It could be said that her main drive as an artist is to expose the implicit perversities within flamboyance. For STYX Projects, Vlaschits will manufacture her own version of a Baroque "lustgarten". Featuring a walk-in grotto it will be giving home to an androgynous nymph impersonified by London-based artist La JohnJoseph, who Vlaschits invited to be part of her performance during the opening night. In addition, Vlaschits will be showing her new film, "Cockaigne d'Or," which the artist ironically refers to as a "dance film," and is the result of fifteen togate dancers spending an entire night for a Dionysian secret meeting in the venerable auditorium of the Viennese Art Academy. Vlaschits's film shows her work to be the missing link between medieval carneval, historical kitsch and Viennese Actionism.
The exhibition title, "Knock, Knock," refers to the motif that unites these two artists' work, and is arguably representative of a generation gestation in contemporary art: that is, the "bad joke" or "anti-humor." In a similar vein to Asger Jorn and Georg Baselitz, who attempted to mutilate the canon of high art with their "bad paintings" in the 1960s, Eric Holmes and Marianne Vlaschits respond to the proliferation of popular culture and faux naiveté in contemporary art with a colourful assault on the cerebral. Paradoxically, the artists' crude anti-humor bespeaks a newer, sophisticated form of the humorous, wherein the search for the (nonexistent?) punchline becomes the punchline itself.
Eric Holmes was born in Dallas, Texas. After earning his BA in Advertising, he ran a motel in the middle of the desert for three years. He then moved to the UK and graduated with an MA in film-making. He now lives and works in the US, where he divides his time between working, painting, and film-making.
Marianne Vlaschits was born in Vienna and graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions including "Matador Beach," Ve.Sch, Vienna; "Asshole Island," C 17, Vienna and "Dear Anus," Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs. Past performances include "Just some Gigolos," Kunsthalle, Vienna; "Sexy Magic," Ve.Sch, Vienna and "Sexiness," Brut Konzerthaus, Vienna.
Opening reception & performance:
27 August 2010, 7 pm
28 August - 4 September 2010
Open everyday (except Sunday)
from 2-6 pm or by appointment