Paul Kneale

Re-Up v03 (Gstaad), 2016

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

100 × 40 × 50 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:

A dark bronze sculpture of a duck lazes alongside a pot of blossoming white flowers at the bottom of a stone fountain that spirals up behind it like an asymmetrical model of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in ruins. Slowly a waterfall winds down and around from the fountainhead’s craggy summit, circumnavigating once its five-tiered form and gathering in a shallow walled pool on the opposite side to the waterfowl — which is abstract in its form and much larger than an ordinary duck, around two-thirds as tall as a person. Sitting on its arse with its feet splayed in front of it, as a person would, rather than on its tummy with its feet tucked underneath as a duck would, it has a rather bemused air.

Now, the shadowy ornamental fountain rotates and rises out of a small patch of cobblestoned ground, an island of old Gstaad preserved amongst the modern grid of paving slabs that surround it. The cobblestones and village duck-pond are of the old world, the paving slabs and minimal metal duck of the new. Whilst the falling waterway is complicated with dramatic overhangs, twists and mezzanines, the waterfowl is completely smoothed out. Its undulating metal form is minimal (the wings have been dispensed with entirely) and sensuous as a modern artwork, sitting somewhere between Constantin Brancusi’s Bird In Space and an ordinary bird. Slumped curvedly upon the rough and haphazard muddle of the past, its presence highlights the many layers of architectural time that intermingle around us offering links to the past.

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