Joep van Liefland
Christoph von Weyhe
Mike Bouchet's recent series of “Colachrome” paintings are made with his self produced Diet Cola. Though the works cover a range of themes, what Bouchet is primarily working with is the immaterial cultural fabric that ties all of these themes together. Bouchet's works are never didactic gestures, nor are they ironic or condescending. The criticality of his perspective is tempered by the empathy and humor of his approach. His work displays a heightened sensitivity and awareness of the myriad ways in which we are both the passive and active agents of mass corporate culture. Rather than turn his back to it, however, he quite literally jumps into this sea, and swims in its relentless tide of materials, formal qualities and immaterial notions found in its larger waves for relevant creative and critical inspiration.
It can be argued that the history of human civilisation has been driven by dissatisfaction. The ever present call for more. For this series, the artist has drawn inspiration from the myriad of graphic information associated with the popular employment new age concepts of Zero, Nothingness, Feelings, empty that have been used in combination with far less zen phrases of obedience, desire and More. By re-purposing these Bouchet effectively turns these phrases on themselves and even “more” so, and uses them as formal instruments for an aquarelle technique that he has developed over the years. More (Circle Rise), for example, pairs a circular optical logo-ish pattern with the phrase MORE. Not only does the contrast of the motif and the text form an interesting association, but the delicacy of the pigment on the cotton material creates further associations as well as an appreciation for the sensitive handling of the medium.
The same text image associations are also found in more mannered and layered works such as „Two Dates Two“. In these works, the balance between the texts, the color and the deliberately left pencil lines from the planning of the work all bye for attention. Its this bouncing back and forth between motif, color and process that give the works their tension and novel beauty. The show features a wide variety of pieces and motifs; but most all the works are marked by a compelling tension between abstraction and figuration: shapes turn into surfaces, and surfaces turn into landscapes.
In addition to the Colachromes, we will also present new sculptures in the exhibition. This series of works, titled “Sylva Lounger,” are works that double as a very innovative lounge chair. Made simply from cutting a shopping cart, and bending down the sides into a very comfortable and stylish piece of furniture. These functional sculptures are for indoor and outdoor use, and come with a variety of fabrics in limited editions. Brown leather, Japanese Denim for indoors, and Blue, Pink and Green fabric for indoor/outdoor fabrics. Each piece is numbered and engraved with the artists signature.
The humor of all of these works bears witness to the underlying rigor of Bouchet's longstanding engagement with the behavioural facets of today’s corporate consumer culture hegemony. Like a dark caffeinated drink, Bouchet’s work adamantly gives its audience more than what they want. More importantly though, it reveals that the tenuous relationship between some of the most dominant visual language of our times, and the intended response mechanisms in humans, can be subverted into something striking, beautiful and revelatory.
Mike Bouchet (born 1970 in Castro Valley, California). His works has been exhibited in many international Institutions and Museum exhibitions as MoMA PS1 (2005), Palais de Tokyo (2009), Schirn Kunsthalle (solo, 2010), Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (2008, 2009, 2015), Jumex Collection Mexico (2012), Kunstverein Hannover (Made in Germany 2, 2012), Marlborough Chelsea New York (2017), Portikus Frankfurt (together with Paul McCarthy, 2014), Peres Projects Berlin (2016), Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin Paris (2015). He also has been participating artist in several biennials such as the Venice Biennial in 2009 and Manifesta in Zurich 2016. His works are represented in numerous private and public collections, including Belvedere Museum Vienna,CAPC/Musée d'Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Deutsche Bank Collections, DZ Bank Frankfurt, Städelmuseum Frankfurt, Margulies Collection Miami, Ullens Collection Beijing. In 2014 Mike Bouchet received the 1822 Art Prize by the Frankfurter Sparkasse Foundation. He currently is exhibiting at Galerie Sofie van de Velde in Antwerp („Energy Log“), „Sanguine/Bloedrood. Luc Tuymans on Baroque“, a group show curated by Luc Tuymans at M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Belgium and „Experience Traps“ at Middelheimmuseum Antwerp, Belgium.
Bouchet lives and works in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. This is his forth solo show with our gallery.
image: Mike Bouchet "Sylva Lounger", 2018, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Parisa Kind