|TRAINING OF NINJAS
IN PREPARATION FOR
THE PENDING INVASION
AARON VAN ERP
NOV 03-DEC 15, 2012
Seemingly lit by glaring headlamps, in Aaron van Erp’s oil painting The Training of Ninjas for the Pending Invasion of Sealand (2012), the silhouettes of the portrayed figures appear in front of a dark background. With a roughly sketched physiognomy, the bodies oscillate between fitness training and torture. As if applied with a swab, nebulous yet with a hypnotic radiance.
In the second solo exhibition of the Dutch artist, FELDBUSCHWIESNER gallery will show new paintings from 2012 and will also present large drawings for the first time.
Revealing human abysses in a gestural corporeality is characteristic for Aaron van Erp’s surreal visual worlds. He constructs a lawless space in his own nihilistic time zone, in which the figures seem to dismember themselves. The landscape in which they operate is a bizarre wasteland, which eludes the comfort zone of modern functionalism. Yet his works are still filled with the products of the contemporary consumer world: beer bottles, meatballs, candy-coloured balloons and lobsters as red as fire extinguishers. He puts these everyday elements in a disconcerting contextual relationship of power, suppression, invasion and persecution. The titles of the works reflect the absurd humour of his visual language. In the painting Allegory of Liberalism with Chair and Burning Caravan (2012), the lynch mob does not even stop short of the Dutch institution of the caravan.
Van Erp draws the immense narrative power of his fiction from the strength of historic positions: the blurry paint application and the surreal pictorial space are a legacy of Francis Bacon, while James Ensor’s idiosyncratic use of the colour palette and the provocativeness of Chaïm Soutine’s motifs are just as evident here. In particular the implied complicity of the viewer is also an elementary characteristic of these artists’ works. The synergy of these divergent powers creates a peculiarly timeless sphere. Van Erp’s paintings are endless stories, in which scenes are evoked yet the progression of the narration remains uncertain.
Aaron van Erp addresses the gaps and cracks in modern perception in a remarkable way. This instability of the gaze is expressed in the gestural painting of the figures, which in the age of digital velocity are permanently in a state of flux, appearing and disappearing. Reality and fiction, victim and tormenter, past and present are inseparably interwoven. The evil aspect of humans hence becomes a flickering phantom, a fluctuating recollection.