From March 30 through June 2, 2012.
For Eclipse, German artist Hannes Bend stages a multimedia recreation of the contemporary sublime and its lower, fractured shadow. The gallery overflows with wreckage dredged from the Osborne Reef, a failed manmade reef off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. The reef began in 1972, when the Broward Artificial Reef Inc. Company (BARINC) began dumping car tires in hopes that they would foster marine life. With close to 2,000,000 tires today, the Osborne is now an ecological catastrophe.
Two videos bracket this well-intentioned dystopia. Eclipse, 2012 shows blue sky interrupted by passing cars, industrial equipment, and the underbellies of passenger airplanes. Aquadome, 2012 juxtaposes different watery environments: the shoreline, the Osborne Reef, aquariums and swimming pools. As Aquadome flits from the submerged cemetery to the bourgeois appropriation of nature, recalling both Friedrich’s The Sea of Ice and Dan Graham’s Death By Chocolate, the viewer must accommodate both natural continuation and societal entropy. It is not just a phonetic link that attaches these water pieces to bathos-the lofty treatment of the commonplace. His work joins us as we search high and low for that which is worth saving.
Hannes Bend was born in Neustadt, a small town on the Baltic Sea in northern Germany. An affinity for the dramatic natural landscape, one that similarly inspired the German Romantics, runs through his art. It should be mentioned that Caspar David Friedrich painted the area surrounding Bend’s childhood home. However, the younger artist’s sublime has been contaminated by the twentieth century – industrial modernization and globalized popular culture – forcing classical tropes to grapple for contemporary relevance. The sky and the ocean, long expanses of contemplation, have been recast as negative space encroached upon by society. While not hopeless, the situation is far from ideal.
Hannes Bend graduated from the Fine Arts College Berlin Weissensee in 2007. He has had solo exhibitions in Berlin and New York. Eclipse is his first solo exhibition with Charest-Weinberg.
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