javier pérez: night currents

Sep 15 - Nov 11, 2018
KETELEER GALLERY has the pleasure to present Night Currents, the first solo exhibition by Spanish artist Javier Pérez in Belgium which is part of his most recent production, including sculptures, drawings and photography.
Press release
With a particular cyclical view of time, in which life and death are only two stages within the permanent transformation, Javier Pérez emphasizes and poetically challenges the fragile line between paradigmatically antithetical concepts such as attraction and rejection, interior and exterior, opacity and transparency, carnality and spirituality or life and death, invading the exhibition space with an unsettling and disquieting, but no less hopeful, burden of fragility.
In the four central works Night Currents, Nightmares, Haunted Nights and Drowning, produced for this exhibition during 2018, the artist enters the oneiric world of dreams and transcends the limits of his own privacy to show shamelessly the traces of his fears and obsessions after sleepless nights.
In the series of drawings Night Currents that gives name to the exhibition, the watered ink crosses the furrows and folds of savannahs, like a stream of nocturnal fluids that try to escape from the nightmare, deposited after its passage its pigments and sediments and impregnating them of the traces of the dreamed.
“The bed is sometimes that battlefield in which I face my fears and obsessions, the pillow is that enemy that I confront face to face every night bare-chested” says the artist.
In the series Nightmares, seven pillows twisted and “exhausted after the battle”, collect the sweat, the blood and the solidified tears. Petrified shrouds which collect the tracks of the head and of his nocturnal movements. The memory of thought and the images of recurrent nightmares are engraved and perpetuated on the cold Carrara marble.
For Haunted Nights the artist has taken up technique originating in photography. Ambrotypes collect different moments of sleepless nights in negative with the Colodión technique. In a game of superpositions and transparencies, he creates three-dimensional and spectral scenes on which his nocturnal ghosts appear. As portraits of our own obsessions.
” Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river. “ wrote Jorge Luis Borges.
With the works which complete the exhibition, Javier Pérez seems to incorporate this message and surrender to the vital flow of Nature as a means to demonstrate and highlight his concerns and reflections about the passage of time
Hybrids of impossible shapes and seemingly barren branches make up the bronze series Brotes I-II-III (2017), in which the vegetable, the animal and the mineral merge to show themselves as bearers of latent life.
“I am interested in the ambiguity that certain forms show, there is a familiarity between the animal and the vegetable, both are determined by the same implacable law: they only exist in a state of permanent transformation” says Javier Pérez.
Branches of peach trees, stoic olive trees or almond blossoms, sprout from pulsating hearts in a violent explosion of renewed life, showing, as in the series of drawings Fuentes de vida (2016), the transience of every living thing , as well as their responsibility and commitment during that short and fleeting transit.
In Carroña (2011), a beautiful Murano glass lamp which lies broken on the floor becomes a metaphor for the idea of ​​fragility. The artist himself explains his intentions: “Glass interests me precisely in its both fragile and rigid quality, simultaneously attractive and dangerous”. But, the glass is also red, “the color of our interior”, a direct allusion to the blood and to the life that, in this case, seems spilled before the sinister presence of the black crows to remind us of our own vulnerability and, therefore, the temporality of existence. Carroña is part of the collections of two of the most important museums in the world dedicated to glass: The Corning Museum of Glass in New York and the Toyama Art Glass Museum in Japan.
Drawing has been a constant discipline in the artistic career of Javier Pérez and his creations are part of important collections of international prestige, among them the Centre Pompidou owning more than a hundred of his drawings.
The series Lapsus (2017), Revelaciones II (2017) and Manifestaciones (2017) are a challenge to their own physical and emotional state: sharp, penetrating and light ink, paper soaked to the core, insistent, obsessive gesture, immediate slip emerging from the subconscious, without interruption, horizontally, in a meditative state and close to the ground as if tracing among his own obsessions.
The drawings are configured as musical “pneumograms”: scores in which the harmony is given by the multiplication and superposition of layers and the rhythm by the rhythmic frequency of their breathing until the organic appearance of random melodies.

JAVIER PÉREZ (Bilbao, 1968) is one of the contemporary Spanish artists with the greatest international projection of his generation.

After passing through the Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad del País Vasco (UPV / EHU) and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (ENSBA), the city where he established his residence between 1992-97, Javier Pérez bursts in with strength in the international artistic scene with his first solo show at the Chantal Crousel Gallery in Paris in 1996 and a year later, with his first museum exhibition, at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg.

His works are characterized by a certain syncretism, both by the procedures and by the materials used. Sculpture, photography, drawing, video and performance are used independently and together to create installations in which interaction and exploration are essential.

The installation is one of the usual large formats in his artistic career. In 2001 he represented Spain in the “49th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia”, ​​with the installation Un pedazo de cielo cristalizado. In 2004 he carried out the installation Mutaciones at the Palacio de Cristal, Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum, Madrid. In 2009 he presented Lamentaciones in the cloister of the Cathedral of Burgos and in 2012 he made The Carousel of Time for the Karl-Böhn Saal commissioned by the Salzburg Festival.

His work is part of important collections such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Museo Reina Sofía and the Centre Pompidou, Fondation Guerlain.

Javier Pérez lives and works in Barcelona

Installation Views