Visions of Songs
10 SEPTEMBER – 24 OCTOBER 2020
“This is the real world, after all.” (Brandon Lipchik) It looks like a fight. Two dark-haired creatures are circling each other in Brandon Lipchik’s 2020 painting “Dropping Swords in Paths Untrodden.” The characters are composed of sharply outlined shapes, some of which cast shadows and thus suggest spatiality, which at second glance reveals itself to be erroneous, or implausible, rather.
Visions of Songs
10.09.2022 – 24.10.2020
With Visions of Song, Brandon Lipchik presents his first solo exhibition at Robert Grunenberg. The exhibition features eleven of Lipchik‘s paintings of acrylic airbrush, oil, and mixed media on canvas, as well as poems of acrylic on canvas with silkscreen overlay and a poetry piece in VR, programmed by the artist himself.
The paintings presented in the gallery seem to be a collage in 3D, in which shapes are arranged in overlapping layers as if they were a life simulation video game from the early 2000s. The artist resorts to traditional oil paints, which he applies with a brush. Before the painting process starts he designs his characters on the computer with 3D rendering programs and then transfers them onto the canvas by means of acrylic paint and an airbrush gun. Other elements are conventionally painted by hand. The synergy between the different techniques is eerily seamless, but this is to be understood as a process of evolution, not as a statement.
Several sources of light illuminate the scenery in Lipchiks paintings but their placement and angles cannot quite be reconstructed. Not dissimilar to a carefully (albeit implausibly) lit stage, drop shadows and spotlights further dramatize the scene. He is interested in the symptomatic and very contemporary glow that screens and smartphones cast onto human skin. The high-contrast play of light and shadow is reminiscent of the ever-customizable situations that 3D rendering software can artificially create. The aesthetic of the hyperreal, that is the conflation of heightened expressivity with an impersonal style of painting holds true for the unusual points of view in Lipchik’s paintings, as well: they tend to be arranged in a way that the spectator looks at the action from a raised perspective.
The influence of digital practices and modes of perception on both visual culture and thought has not been mapped yet by a long shot — Lipchik is moving along the border of something that is genuinely new.
Literature also plays a central role in the Visions of Song. Lipchik’s poems are dominated by a cool, elegiac, at times apocalyptic tone, which creates a direct link to American Classics: Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Baldwin. One of the texts presented in the exhibition only becomes apparent upon slipping on a pair of VR goggles and entering the virtual layer of this exhibition, programmed by Lipchik. After sliding on the goggles, the visitor finds themself in a virtual room, which itself is located inside the gallery space and whose paintings, mounted onto physical walls, suddenly become semi-digital. This disposition in and of itself speaks volumes about how porous the borders between the worlds of the virtual and the analog have become today.
Brandon Lipchik’s most recent works are stricter, less pop, and even somber at times. His first solo exhibition at the gallery is set to take place in the most uncertain and confrontational year in recent American history. Black Lives Matter and the protests against Donald Trump have become a wake-up call for many Americans who aren’t usually politically active, the artist states. There is no doubt that we are finding ourselves in a time of crisis. As a young American artist, what constitutes a positive point of reference when thinking about America? Lipchik turns to American literature as well as in the infinite possibilities offered by today’s ever-expanding image production machinery, which the artist uncovers and masters as a means for his own production of images.
Text by Boris Pofalla
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