Siberia Irrational Representation III, 2011
54 x 64 cm
Courtesy of the artist and LUBOMIROV-EASTON, London
Running With Wolves
Work that speaks to our stories, dreams and desires
30 November to 22 December
Private View: Friday 30 November, 6-9.30pm
In her solo exhibition with Lubomirov-Easton, Perienne Christian layers images with archetypal myth, she maps eclectic territories and depicts natural landscapes bearing the marks of personal history and family heritage. Translating modes of representation -observational sketches, found photography, Victorian maps, press cuttings - into the levelling media of pencil, paint, or intaglio etching, she holds open spaces for contemplation. Christian’s psychogeography resonates with Blaise Pascal’s view of nature, as “an infinite space whose centre is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere.” This is, equally, an apt description of a draughtsman’s world, in which hand and eye coordinate through deft line, sensing and recording depths of meaning in the angle, proportion, and tone of each branch and crag, figure and creature. As the conventional configuration of space and form is turned inside-out in images such as Crescent Moon Bear (2012) and Siberia Irrational Representation (2012), we are given permission to pause at each element - rich with a quavering touch - that speaks to our own stories, dreams and desires.
These intimate images are also the subject of Phantasmagoria, an ambitious work-in-progress, so far comprising eighty new drawings on paper depicting other people’s dreams. Psychoanalyst Melanie Klein described the unconscious as a “theatre within,” a stage on which the characters of our inner world perform. In Christian’s universe, these characters, emblems, and motifs are certainly diverse, and rely upon multiple layers of interpretation, from the participant’s take on the question of “dreams” to the artist’s translation of their words into images. Arranged in a grid format, the 8x10cm drawings display pictorial slippage across a collective fantasy space: wolves and dogs surround submissive humans in several sketches; still water and waves fill others.
Though many of Christian’s dreamers reported nightmares to her, not joyful wishes, her work wraps even these terrors in a sincere beauty that promises more than mere comfort.
Curated by Bella Easton and Iavor Lubomirov.
Text by Becky Hunter. Becky Hunter writes for Artforum and is a contributing editor of Art Papers.
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