Paul Kneale

Re-Up v01 (Gstaad), 2016

Acrylic, CNC cut high density polyurethane, process drawings and text, resin coating

100 × 30 × 40 cm

Edition size: 2


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Artwork
Description

For his contribution to Project 1049, artist Paul Kneale has engaged with the notion of the commissioned object: with a focus on the public sculptures of Gstaad, he asked art writers to produce critiques of particular in situ works, which were then used — via an online platform — to commission new illustrations based on these descriptions. The resultant drawings have been turned back into physical objects, a series of 3D modelled sculptures made of polystyrene and resin, which have been installed near their original versions: a mise-en-abîme of aesthetic interpretation repeated back to itself across genre and discipline.

Below, it is possible to read the anonymous critic’s text that inspired the commissioned drawing:

The Russian photographer Boris Mikhailov once quipped that it was essential for people to keep taking pictures of sunsets. Essentially imploring them to not become jaded or immune to the magnificent beauty in the everyday, and to persist with their special relationship to it. Perhaps for a sculptor the same ignorance of cliche could be encouraged in regards to subjects such as the kiss.

Rather than nature’s ecstatic display of the sun’s disappearance below the horizon, the subject of the human embrace is at the pivot point of the will. The moment bodies and minds begin the negotiation which ends in their dissolution into each other. The threshold of self. These figures here express such a physical integration, outstretched arms literally melding to form a circuit, a continuity of bodies subject to the act.

The artist has chosen a radically simplified style that does not at once reduce to its materials: the remoteness of patina’d bronze in contrast to the organic form. It recalls the exercises of reduction germane to the early 20th century exploration of representational form, but without an overt agenda to subsume these forms back into the figure/ground binary. Perhaps what we could surmise then is precisely our fallen state with regards to such concerns: a return to the social that carries with it these lessons in representation. It is significant then that the figures in this embrace are distinctly non-gendered. We recognise their bodies as human, but without explicit representation of genitalia. The embrace itself, the moment of ego dissolution, does not presuppose the socially assigned construct of gender. Rather it equates passion as a force unto itself. A logic and motive that speaks to a beautiful though not-yet realised now.

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