The Rudyard Kipling fable, ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ involved a couple of roguish men who hustled around the Indian subcontinent then found their way to the Hindu Kush. Seeking fortune in the mountainous terrain one crowned himself a King and set to conquer the locals. For the rugged alpine set location, the exhibition ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ the five artists are themselves charming rogues. Set to conquer the existential dilemmas of the early 21st century their quixotic pursuit of the craft, the art, make them Kings of sorts.
David Adamo carves, shapes, and reduces massive pillars of cedar wood to their essential. Though gouged on the surface a plinth retains its bulk/mass save for the central core now carved down to skeletal thinness. A tension occurs between power and vulnerability; at once a reductive object in its mid-point in space (Giacometti) and a proportional shift in minimal scale.
Olaf Breuning’s newest iteration of his white marble sculptures ‘The Couple’ has the appearance of an oversized gravestone. Carved and embossed with text they appear as cartoon characters and split personalities in conversation. Absurd or existential they go hand-in-hand with intimate cartoony drawings framed in brass vitrines, a clash of conflicting texts that emote the ridiculous sublime he is known for.
With peerless utility Peter Coffin’s compresses the visual information of canonical sculptures into flattened silhouettes. As if looking at digitized GIFF files in real space and time, the iconic images are both familiar and alien.
Sean Landers tartan animals are homage to Magritte’s notorious and now more appreciated ‘Vache Period’ paintings. In a sense they’re self-portraits of Landers himself. The clannish associations of tartan connote old world heritage and today’s fashionable demimonde. Yet this artist being a North American animal himself, understands the cunning of the fox makes for the contextual cunning of the artist.
The ruin, its fragments, and the wheel of reproduction ad infinitum, correspond in the two and three-dimensional works of Sebastian Hammwöhner. He is an artist who utilizes appropriation with the forensic methods of cultural anthropology and the contextual chess games of contemporary art.