SOON: 04.10.2023, The Painting Academy, Laurence and Friends, Geneva

SOON: 04.10.2023, The Painting Academy, Laurence and Friends, Geneva

Keeping Up Apparences

Lokal Int, Bienne (CH)

Curation: Héloïse Chassepot
Text: Margaux Dewarrat & Héloïse Chassepot
Photo: Stefania Carlotti

Hanna draws up an inventory of various exhibition devices.

She conscientiously picked and selected the items she desires. Sometimes it is fashion, sometimes its displays.

In a naive and juvenile attitude she acts as if, through the act of representation, she could possess the items she paints.

Hanna has a background in visual merchandising, which is an activity that deals with the visual organization of sales areas or/and cultural areas in order to optimize the presentation of products, the well-being and satisfaction of customers, visitors and staff. An activity that aims at promoting dirty so-to-say. What you see is what you get, they used to say.

They are containers in which our desires and wishes are stored. In one of the painting, the showcase has been emptied. A shift that allows the object to be freed from its usual function, eventually gaining the prestigious status of the one of the object of desire, fetishized.

Empty displays, as if they had been robbed during the last black Friday, as if there was nothing left to sell, nothing left to exhibit; we can eventually focus one’s attention on the exhibition’s device itself. PINK RIBBON A kinky pink ribbon branded by the letter H wraps the shiny/glazed cube.

The wrapped packaging.

As we all know really well, fashion is ruled by a cyclic move, a seasonal renewal. Fashion is in perpetual motion, having to constantly reinvent and renew itself, by constantly finding new ways of arranging shapes, colors and materials, by drawing on past fashions to bring them up to date. STARS The famous Adidas’ jacket, international and intergenerational (let’s say: universal) star of the streetwear is here highly displayed on a white moulding and carefully covered by a transparent plastic sheet. A displacement that reminds us how fashion is the best example of cultural recycling, how class belonging is masked behind a mix and match of clothing, how the big companies might be happy about it. How funny, the painting is title Cover the star?

The good deal. It’s a good deal. A recognizable sign, as seen as the Mickey mouse white gloved hand is articulating a thumb-up gesture as to say «It’s a good deal», a sign of appreciation reminding how validation or dislike are omnipresent in everyday life. THE GLOVES ARE OFF A unique transparent hand levitating on in a 90’s grey background. The style of an advertising for a glove-holder in plexiglass that ironically thwart the expression «the gloves are off», meaning when people compete or argue unscrupulously.

In an overall, times seem to collapse. While the injunction «keep up appearances» evokes the merciless rhythm of consumption and its social pressure, the patching of various eras of interiors, styles and references layered by the very personal spectrum of the artist’s envies and desires give the feeling of an anachronistic compilation. The feeling of time are shuffled once again by the slow-process of painting that certainly operate as a catharsis. The artistic process being way longer than the one of the commercial purchase provide a kind of reverse chronology. Hanna reinvent the idea of possession that can no longer be dealt with impersonal currencies but need to be owned first: desiring the desire. Keep up with appearances is no longer a threat, and the rules of the visual merchandising are no longer « what you see is what you get ». It tells us instead that we do desire, we can then see.