A Juan Project / Galerie Gabriel Rolt is proud to present All we ever wanted was everything, a solo exhibition by Amsterdam based artist Paul du Bois Reymond.
Paul du Bois Reymond started his artistic career in the world of graphic design, and is today one of Holland’s most influential graphic designers. He made a name for himself creating various experimental visual identities and designs for the music industry and the underground club culture, becoming well known as the co founder of the legendary Machine collective.
The popularity gained with his graphical work prompted him to experiment with other media, starting with the etching technique. As a further stylistic development, du Bois-Reymond chose the medium of graphite drawings, using subtle lines and intricate compositions to depict, between others, subjects of the everyday.
The choice of employing a black and white palette in his drawings derives not only from his desire of emancipation from his previous graphical 'signature' style; it also contributes to the way we experience his works. By choosing a range of neutral colors, the presented images become less direct, their recognizable figures being now slightly different from our colored reality, asking, this way, for our attention.
The character of the drawings is fundamentally critic, aiming to ironize our contemporary culture and its formal translation. The title of the exhibition, All we ever wanted was everything, is a sarcastic hint towards our postmodern generation, brought up in wellness and used to ambitious standards, our current international economical- political situation being the result of this attitude.
Digital imagery is a pivotal source of inspiration, in this case it being even the direct example: all the exhibited works come from the artist’s personal iPhone, extrapolated by its camera roll.
Du Bois-Reymond was intrigued by the mixed connotations emitted by his photographs: while the people portrayed there were personal acquaintances and thus figures of intimacy, the visual character of the pictures was extremely conventional and anonymous. By literally copying the photographs’ subjects with the drawing technique, the whole personal aspect was gradually transformed, making the familiar faces belong at the end to a detached, average world of interchangeability. The resulting drawings are the representation of a controversial reality: recognizable yet confusing, the different characters blur on the paper, inspiring mixed feelings of familiarity and oddity. By manipulating subjects of the everyday, du Bois-Reymond manages thus to create a new made, semi-artificial memory, which questions reality’s value.
The thematic core of the works lies thus in everyday situations, ranging from music-playing girls to lifeless landscapes. Du Bois-Reymond’s interest in contemporary visual culture is, as mentioned, also permeated with criticism: the drawings reflect the process of coping with reality in all its aspects, some of them being negatively typical of our time. This is clearly symbolized by highly sexualized female figures, semi political references and ironical internet-motives like hypothetical selfie-backgrounds. The harsh reality of today is compensated, however, by the presence of peaceful, pure elements: The gaze of Half - naked women meets, foxar instance, poetic landscapes and idillic surroundings, creating a surprising contrast between irreverence and delicacy.
The final effect inspired by du Bois’ drawings is, at the end, the one of a calm contemplation: while the semi-recognizable elements of our contemporary culture appear at first arrogantly prominent, further analysis of the works reveals irony, sharpness and a bit of aesthetical nostalgia towards authenticity.
All we ever wanted was everything
Paul du Bois Reymond
10 June - 22 July 2017
Opening reception: Saturday 10 June, 17 - 20 hrs
A JUAN PROJECT