Paul Kneale

Born too late to explore the earth/ Born too early to explore the galaxy/ Born just in time to browse dank memes, 2016

chain link fence, neutral masks, Polypropylene monoblock chairs, UV print on aluminum

80 × 50 × 210 cm


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Artwork
Description

There is an air of placelessness inherent to this installation by Paul Kneale. Two white plastic chairs facing each other and a chain link fence; familiar materials meet ambiguous anonymity. Corresponding to Kneale’s practice of taking every-day objects and turning them into analytical exposés, this work addresses the convention of a façade; something that is perceived as not necessarily being that which is true.

White chairs positioned as if in interrogation or discussion, they are separated by the white fence. Sitting upon a platform, it seems at first that this plinth is meant to collect the chairs’ shadows, however, a closer inspection reveals that the shadow is actually a substrate print. Indeed, its angle does not even match the positioning of the chairs. Printed from a free 3D modelling program that uses a template of the chair in a digital environment, the shadow is an anomaly.

Upon each seat is a white mask, akin to the ones Ancient Greek actors would wear to become their character. However, this contemporary plastic version is wilted; melted by an unidentifiable source of heat. This contortion reminds of the Hollow Mask Theory, a test for schizophrenia. During the test, one is asked to identify the face of the mask when only the inside of the mask is shown. Due to the biological evolution to quickly identify human faces, when the contours and shadows are reversed as the mask faces away, many participants will incorrectly say that the mask is facing towards them and will identify the face. Conversely, Schizophrenics will correctly identify the mask that is facing them as they have a greater tendency to view character as something that is ‘put on’.

About
the artist

Born in 1986 in Canada, Paul Kneale received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art (London) in 2011 and has been working closely with ARTUNER since early 2015. Work by Kneale have been included in the exhibition Peindre la Nuit at Centre Pompidou Metz (October 2018), Contemporary Photography Forum exhibition of the Boca Raton Museum (Florida, USA), the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, the Rubell Family Collection and at the prestigious Thetis Gardens in the Arsenale Novissimo (Venice), in a group exhibition on view during La Biennale di Venezia 57°. He lives and works in Toronto.

Paul Kneale is interested in how the world is constantly translated into a digital language which simplifies, trivialises and depersonalises content and the people it addresses. The artist explores the way in which digital facets of our existence can be manifested and reimagined in the flesh of the physical object. The artist has been manipulating cheap scanners to generate a unique way of painting. Rather than capturing an image, the scanner creates an impression of the ambient light within the artist’s studio, bearing the abstract visual trace of the atmosphere surrounding the machine. The process is integral to his new works: the scanner paintings are built up from unique impressions and display multiple layers and striations often between transparent sheets and the colours resulting from varying light conditions in the artist’s studio.

The contrast between machines and their serial products results in what Paul Kneale defines as the “new abject”. In response to Julia Kristeva’s 1980 text ‘Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection’, the artist identifies a “new abject” for the information technology. Describing today’s inherent revulsion for brand new materials, he pinpoints a disorientation in the consciousness of time and location, caused by our immaterial inhabitation of new technologies. This sentiment is embodied in works which often address, in original and innovative ways and media, the simultaneity and layering occurring in our ever-linked virtual existences. Kneale, in an interview with i-D, defines the Internet as ‘a whole way of being in the world’. His practice aims at investigating the role of art in this new enigmatic dimension. Paul Kneale is an artist that explores the possible physical manifestations of the digital. His oeuvre reflects on the implications of algorithms and information flux. While these may seem very abstract entities, they constitute and shape our domestic daily environment. To follow Paul Kneale and receive exclusive updates, click here.


Kneale is interested in how the world is constantly translated into a digital language which simplifies, trivialises and depersonalises content and the people it addresses. The artist explores the way in which digital facets of our existence can be manifested and reimagined in the flesh of the physical object.


Paul Kneale
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

August 24th, 2016 until
September 15th, 2016
Curated by ARTUNER