press release

Axel Antas continues his investigations into the relationship between man and nature in a new body of work that will be shown at the gallery in January 2008.

Photographed in the harsh and vast Catalan Pyrenees, Antas utilised the location to continue his direct interventions within the landscape to find new ways to relate with his surroundings. Birds, a feature of most landscapes - urban or remote, act as a reminder of our inertia whether or not we can see them. In his new interventions Antas creates structures for birds to inhabit. Empty, perched on top of cliffs reaching into the sky, the structures attempt majesty but fail in their fragility. The lack of inhabitants and poetic stillness of the images emphasize the gap between the surroundings and ourselves; representing man’s failed attempt to converge with landscape.

Antas’ new drawings can be seen as a continuation of the bird structure photographs. The sculptural element is the focal point and as a result can be considered within the history of the still life. For the new drawings Antas constructed sculptural interventions in a similar manner to those created for the photographs, this time in the studio. Historically still life includes all kinds of man-made or natural objects that act as a celebration of material pleasures or inversely as a warning of the ephemerality of these pleasures and of the brevity of human life. With Antas’ new drawings the fragility and temporality of the structures are emphasized sometimes to the point of absurdity; in a recent large scale drawing man-made arrangements that appear to have a function have been placed within the landscapes, however their contrast to the surroundings question the very purpose of them. With these structures, the reference to Modernist sculpture is clear, but more importantly their scale give them a human presence, questioning our relationship to both nature and the manmade.

In a new video projection Antas captures a transient landscape; obscured from view the image appears as slowly as it disappears, hinting at the fragility and beauty of a moment. The unfamiliar scenes are beyond our initial grasp yet become both wistful and mystical upon our recognition.

Axel Antas graduated from Goldsmiths in 2000, this is his second solo exhibition at the gallery. Recent solo exhibitions include Invention of Solitude at HIAP Gallery, Helsinki whilst his work has recently been included in group exhibitions at De Vishal exhibition centre, Haarlem and the Stedelijk Museum, Lier, Belgium. Forthcoming exhibitions include Nowhere is here, The Drawing Room, London, touring to Aspex Gallery and Fruehsorge, Berlin. His work is held in private and public collections including the Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Saastamoisen säätiö, Kuopio Art Museum and the Helsinki City Art Museum, The Zabludowicz Collection, Sanders Collection.

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Axel Antas