Woven and Illuminated
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Woven and Illuminated

How can light transform our perspectives and even objects themselves? This question unites the complex and multi-layered artistic processes of Sinta Tantra and André Hemer. For their first ever joint exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Berlin, the artists present distinct works that explore the fluctuating relationships between space, time and materiality. Aptly titled ‘Woven and Illuminated’, the exhibition brings together a collection of artworks that weave through dimensions, taking the viewer on an intimate voyage into the artistic process.

Sinta Tantra’s multifaceted artistic practice encompasses everything from public art and installation to sculpture and painting. Known primarily for her practice of ‘colour collage’ whereby separate elements are united through architectural lines and vibrant colour, Tantra has recently developed an interest in weaving with regards to both the ancient physical practice and the concept of interconnecting space, object and time. Whilst this fascination is perhaps most apparent in Tantra’s installations in which the viewer is often invited to walk around the three-dimensional artwork, there is also a sense of depth in her paintings. Once the blueprint design is mapped and masked onto the linen, tempera paint is then quickly and precisely applied to create a seemingly flat, graphic colour. Yet on closer examination, the viewer is able to physically see and feel the artist’s brush-strokes with areas of raw canvas exposing the waft and weave of the linen. In this way, the painting takes us on a journey of not only dimensions but also time and space. ‘I think of it as a theatre set,’ commented Tantra. ‘The idea of props or artworks allowing you to weave between private and public space as your imagination makes the jump from where you really are to an imaginary place.’

Tantra encourages us to make another jump between spaces as she transitions from the inside gallery space into the garden. Her vinyl window displays function as colourful thresholds between the two spaces as the sunlight carries the colour across the floor across the period of the day, meaning both artwork and gallery are in constant transition. ‘I like the narrative individual colours can bring,’ said Tantra. ‘I often refer to a tropical pop palette and English heritage colours, considering the tension between masculine and feminine, but also the changing colours of light itself. Growing up in Bali, I always loved the sunset and how pink merges into blue and then suddenly it’s dark.’ For Tantra, this journey through colour is the catalyst for creative immersion both for herself as an artist and for the viewer: ‘When I paint colours on the wall or the floor, I want people to look more carefully at the architectural spaces they inhabit, whether this is in their homes or urban environments. I want people to be inspired, to find joy both in making and changing the world around them.’

New Zealand-born artist André Hemer similarly uses light to bind together multiple elements, provoke transformation and create a uniquely temporal colour palette. For his latest body of work, physical objects (created from paint) were scanned on a flatbed en plein air to capture not only a version of the object, but also the surrounding landscape and atmospheric conditions of that particular day. The scanned images are then worked over again by hand with thick, luscious swirls of paint, adding a new layer of three-dimensionality. The result is a collection of paintings with the depth of sculpture. We are invited to view beyond the artwork as an object to the process itself, the becoming. ‘It is about rematerialisation,’ commented Hemer. ‘The end painting always contains a version of the original painted object, but this has been flattened into a scanned image and then become a painting again. I am interested in the transaction between all of these materialities.’

The transaction is also one of artistic practises, between digital image making and traditional painting. However, Hemer is keen to stress that, for him and a large majority of contemporary artists, digital and physical methods are not distinct but inextricably interconnected. Both are integral to his exploration of representation and materiality. ‘I often use gold, for example,’ said Hemer, ‘because it is both colour and material. When a scanner catches gold, it’s transformed into something else because there’s no such thing as gold in a digital image.’ Thus, Hemer’s artworks invites us to more closely consider the making of the images that surround us and how processes may alter or manipulate our perspectives. In similar way, we might wonder how the the pairing of Tantra and Hemer’s distinct artworks within one gallery space impacts our understanding and sparks our imagination.

Woven and Illuminated

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