Doubleuse: co-curated by Moyra Derby and Katherine McKee
Pavel Büchler, Moyra Derby, Mick Finch, Jane Harris, Gerard Hemsworth, Louise Hopkins, Richard Kirwan, Sadie Murdoch, Katherine McKee, Ben Ravenscroft, Caragh Thuring, Amikam Toren, John Wilkins
The linguistic term 'double use' is offered as an analogy for painting that attempts to hold mutually contradictory positions. In 'double use' two meanings function in the same word; meaning remains unstable and unresolved.
The work here demonstrates an engagement with painting as a problematic and inconclusive field of practice. The strategies, rules and repeated processes put to work by each of the artists operate in a forced bounce back from edge to edge, and corner to corner; a dead end that does not create stasis but in fact provokes activity.
This active loop, bounded by art historical precedent and expectation, has arguably a connection with the psychological limbo of a 'double bind'. 'Double bind' implies a circumstance in which irreconcilable demands are repeatedly asserted, creating a response field that cannot be exited. The severity of this type of no win situation was argued by Gregory Bateson in the 1950's as a trigger for schizophrenia. The contradictory assertions inferred here are the double invoking of truth and deception obligations within painting; for example truth in terms of depiction versus deception in terms of illusion; or more generally how painting has been implicated in a philosophy of ethics or deconstructions of truth, while being dismissed as a redundant fiction.
Contemporary practitioners continue to draw on painting as a useful and functioning context, despite and because of its inherited difficulties. The lexical ambiguity of 'double use' is able to hold together opposed meaning in order for both to still operate simultaneously. Performed at arms length or through a form of ventriloquism, labouring under self imposed limitations or historically inherited restrictions, painting is still put to work.
DOUBLEUSE, The Nunnery Gallery London 23rd February - 18th March 2007
Exhibition accompanied by a publication with texts by Sean Ashton and JJ Charlesworth.