artist / participant
daheim (at home) is the title of Christopher Snee's first solo exhibition at Gitte Weise Galerie, Berlin. In his recent paintings, the letters CRUX AUSTRALIS become the montage word, a composite mosaic unit or basic textual node. Crux astronomically is the Southern Cross, Crux Australis. A common reference to finding true south, the term also underlies the undecidable or slippery character of true and south. Like the terms here or I - known in linguistics as shifters - they rely critically on context for their meaning. Whether it is Snee's point here or not, one cannot help but consider a possible sub-text: the political dramas unfolding in Australia in the early years of the millennium - the issue of asylum for refugees for example not the least resonant - the crux of the matter also comes to mean not only the decisive point, but also a point of perplexing difficulty.
Snee places importance in the origin of his chosen words as well as the associations we make with his painted variants. In his hands they are composed or invented, inverted or reversed, repeated and concealed, or simply isolated. He uses graphic space as a structural agent in his works. The painted text becomes a way of staging reading as a visual constellation, where the meaning of words and letters behave spatially like ideograms. The viewer-reader intuitively searches for configurations that might organise the letters.
Likewise he makes us see words as well as read them. (Reading the volume and making the volume readable). We look at their significance and content as well as their form. Unlike conventional linear progression in prose - which also determines our lockstep conventional way of thinking - he plays fast and loose with surface meaning revealing intriguing textual undertows.
Snee's breakdown of the semiotic premises of language and painting activates both the body and the mind¹s encounter with these quizzical works. Words cease to be transparent, as letters combine, reverse, or overlay, to create potent semantic slippages.
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