KARL Gallery | Exhibitions, KARL Gallery has been established by KARL Institute in 2014 as a part of its not-for-profit activities, with the aim to carry out various projects and programs in the field of art..., Art, Photography, Contemporary, Painting, Exhibition, Gallery, Beyoglu, Taksim, Istanbul, Emre Ünal
15.01 - 07.02/2015
Broken and You

It is rare in my experience to encounter dedicated realistic painting that is so openly questioning, and that gives the viewer such a quiet distance in which to view, while not being laden with ideology. Precisely by managing this delicate balance these works of Huo Rf achieve a degree of sincerity that are able to hold up over time and remain sincere, which is also a rare and a dangerously laden state these days, especially in navigating a description of the experience in words… 

…although here we with words, which can at best be a positive support that only begins to touch on the contextually faceted functional reality of the physical works.

In these works, precise assertions and negations are successively placed one after another allowing the viewer to cycle through the construction of meanings, through straightforward use of the denotative qualities of the work, directly channeling into the connotative. 

Each of the works in this series are composed of a left panel on which a painted representation of broken glass is rendered in oil on canvas, with a black background, and a right panel of equal size, the surface of which is an actual sheet of copper. 

Because the painted representation is so minimal, it carries a very literal quality, and so remains an assertion of the object itself rather than engaging in visual narrative. This, in my reading, allows the work to more openly engage in a functional philosophical narrative, as it engages to touch physical reality, by actively taking place within it, with open use of, and representation of, materials of the world, rather than imaginative play. If there is any question about this the right panel reiterates these same qualities with even stronger continuity, as it is not a painted representation, but a physical material that, being “of the world” so to speak, already has many active qualities and connotations. The first of which is its obvious reflective quality, reflecting while at the same time distorting the viewer, setting up an interesting interchange of a positive/active relationship that comes simultaneously via negation, in the distortion inherent in the active reflection. Add also the many connotations of copper as a conductive tool, a tool for connection, transmitting data, warmth, etc. and the fact that copper is also a metallic version of skin-tone also cannot be denied in the reading of these works.

The questions these works keep cycling me back to are those of identity and the delicate or vulnerable nature of identity between one’s self and also in connection to others. We are already called to question ourselves in the title of the works, and to question our perception in the painted pane of glass, which interestingly is only described as glass precisely because it is broken, once again, a positive identifier delivered through a negation.

Ideas of being connected to one’s self seem an impossibility to contemplate thoroughly, although are still functional despite their degree of delusion. For precisely when one believes they have achieved a degree of self-awareness, that is the moment when that very self-awareness will start to evaporate, and if left unchecked, will descend into ideology. These works call to my mind irreconcilable contradictions within the delicate perceptual turns we take in attempting to live today with a functional consciousness, in this ever-complicating expanse of our faceted reality.

In the end it’s perhaps impossible to decide, perhaps we are incapable of opening or shutting a door with our minds. Which perhaps is as it should be. We will move forward in functional reality, the world in which these works exist, and call to question. And in hindsight, perhaps we’ll be able to see what we’ve done, and (hopefully, if we do want to see critically in attempting to avoid ideology) still not know who we are. 

Anthony Miler