September 18 to October 5, 2019
Opening : Saturday 21 of September, from 2-5pm
Remains,Circle of time
The abstraction of Théo Golb enacts the artist’s aesthetic and philosophical countenance as regards the importance of delineation and perspective in composition as well as empiricism, historicity and theoretical positions on culture. An individual of erudite and spritual inheritance of several cultures, the painter’s seminal work was strongly influenced by Cubist and Suprematist leitmotif, yet his personal evolution came under a greater attention to linear and planar configuration, resulting in a geomorphic abstraction and metaphysical allusion. In deterrence of art historicism and with a deferential attitude towards the pre-dominant aesthetic concerns of contemporary artistic practice: a practice which he boldly challenges with acuity and a remarkable elocution. The primacy of the theoretical and unwavering gesture of conceptualism which saturates much of contemporary discourse are countered by Théo Golb’s intricate methodology, an architectural ontological relief and abstract colorist orientation converge to illustrate a poignant rupture with the aforementioned discursive fascination with art historicism and visual contextualization, as the artist sculpts with paint in evocations of classical symbolism or literati inspired extemporal manifestations.
The visual fields are dense and intricately woven geometric organisms, recalling the musicality of color, line and space as introduced by Kandinsky, and an errant polemical evaluation with Malevitch often misplaced in historical reference by certains critics. The artist’s self-statement is that the work is without precedent, as the ability, by optical dexterity, and their result negates any immediate recognition by art history and historical mores. Initial experiments appear as under the conduct of surrealism, and we have the echo of the cubist reduction, yet when one witnesses the “ polysemic” vibrations of color restrained within the deftly engraved paint-strokes employed by Golb, one senses an orchestration of chaos aspiring to poetical metaphysics. The visual evidence of a cartographic scheme and latent embedment of actual architectural reference denote that apart from the compositional strength of ocular musicality the artist possesses -in fulcrum- the unique latitude which fuses optical illusion, ontology with the archaic & historical forensic material required to express his optimal fracture with either lyrical or sheer abstraction. A cartographical evacuation which insinuates, with succinct irony, that art historicism may be condoned yet essentially the construct of historical conservatism. A philosophical juxtaposition lies evident within Théo Golb’s optical counter gesture and presence of an ontological “grey” morphology amid the spectrum of myopic academia.
The artist was born in China, to Ukrainian parents. He spent the first half of his life in Germany, Lithuania and Ukraine before settling in Montreal in 1992. Théo Golb is a graduate of Linguistic University in Minsk, Belarus where he earned a degree in the Studio-Theater program. From 1988 to 1990 he created frescos and a major series of stained glass windows for College 53 in Vilnius, (Lithuania). In 1994 he participated in a group exhibition at the Entrecadre Gallery in Montreal, (Canada). Since 2016 his works have been on permanent display at Gallery Richelieu, in Montreal, (Canada). In 2019 solo and collective exhibition at gallery Luz, Montreal, (Canada).
How can we conceive the amalgam — in appearance impossible — between, on the one hand, bar codes, these inert effigies created to commercially identify objects, and on the other hand, textures characterized by what we could call “vivid black and white”? Joseph Chahfe has made it his mission to create this unique and non conventional combination, dissociating the world of profane and daily figures — like the numbers identifying the goods that surrounds us — and the universe of emotional recollection recreated through colour schemes filled with observed past experiences. The artist’s practise comes to fruition to the extent that this coexistence becomes in itself the generating matrix of the work presented in the rhythm of a sequential read.
A code consists of a system of signs, the combination of which creates countless designations for tangible and intangible objects. In this sens, the bar codes set the rules of an alphanumerical grammar intended to identify each and every component of the universe of merchandises. In considering the expansive wave of this codification, which can bring together a computer device, a vegetable, and even personal identify with the codification of passports, one has to recognize that the boundaries between objects and subjects are blurring. The tentacular aspect of codes on subjects and on their living space could result in pessimistic and catastrophic reflexions on the human nature and its future. Regardless, Joseph Chahfe’s paintings lend themselves to a reflexion exercise, more challenging than the simple demagogic declamation. In this iconographic initiative, memories are embodied by large surfaces inhabited by chromated relief, connoting the walls of any urban landscape, where the layers of disparate materials, like our memories, overlay themselves to shape our visual and emotional space. It is the fragments of these walls which indicate what is memorable and what is forgettable in our lives. In that sense, memory, like bare codes, shapes some kind of language with its own codification procedures. The works of Joseph Chahfe establish a fundamental parallelism between memory and bar codes: every mnemonic action entails a graphic action.
Joseph Chahfe, pushes us to observe, reflexively, in a play of mirror reflections, the traceability of our own identity.
Jorge Pantaleon Doctor of Anthropology.
Professor of Anthropology at the University of Montreal
Born in 1959, Lebanese-Canadian artist Joseph Chahfé received a Bachelor in Fine Artsfrom the university of Quebec, Montreal in 1987. Working in painting and installation, he has exhibited regularly in the Arab world and abroad since the 1990s in both group shows and solo exhibitions, most notably at such institutions as the Katzen Arts Center of American university in Washington DC, the Arab World institute in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in Cartagena, Colombia, which owns his work as part of its permanent collection.
Recently he has been featured at the Sultan Gallery in Kuwait and in Art Dubai and Art Abu Dhabi in the uAE. He is currently represented by Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut.
Tuan Vu was born in Saigon in 1971 and immigrated to Canada, Montreal in 1981 during the wave of boat people.
Trained telecommunication engineer, Tuan Vu is a self-taught photographer since 2010. He studied photography in 2012 at University of Montreal. He has also followed painting and drawing class in 2016 at University of Montreal.
His work was first exhibited in 2010, in a public auction in support of Haiti, then recently devastated by an earthquake. In 2016, he participated in a photography collective exhibition at GOT Galerie and first solo at Galerie LUZ in 2018. Once again at Galerie Luz for a collective exhibition with the “Beach Life” series. Miami (US)