Art and logic have never been the cosiest of bedfellows. For many in the sciences, art is too fluffy and cryptic; for those in the arts, rationalism can be too confining, too clinical. But in this age of Reason Above All Else, demands for efficiency and administrative compliance dominate every aspect of our society. Dada, Radicalism and a host of other artistic movements have sought to combat this advance of the machine, but today’s technological sophistication and scope makes the matter as relevant as ever – only more extensive and insidious. So how can artists defend their creative freedom against the databasing behemoth? What can they do to highlight the excesses of logic without limits?
“The Outer Limits” brings together three young artists who each approach this challenge from different perspectives, using their artistic practice to expose, articulate, ridicule and undermine the implications of a society that trusts blindly to Reason above all else.
Andrew Rucklidge is a Canadian artist who targets a zone of conflict between traditional romanticism and 21st Century industrial design. His sweeping panoramas of grand Sublime landscapes are finely inscribed with graphic diagrams and architectural skeins, suggesting a technological framework supporting the Sublime Ideal that has been mapped out with military precision. On the one hand grandiose, the undertone is cold, hard, and calculating, the paintings seeming almost apocalyptic as they surge in protest against the intrusion. Like a subtle subterfuge, it is as if the romantic tradition of landscape painting were a target to be observed, analysed, and exploited without remorse. Based in Toronto, Andrew Rucklidge received an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College in 2003 and has exhibited widely in the UK including at Limoncello, Rokeby Gallery, New Contemporaries at Victoria Miro, and a solo at Store Gallery in London. His work features in numerous collections including UBS & Bloomberg.
Luke Turner also examines what happens when art history and science collide, but with almost masochistic relish. His large-scale photographs are the end product of a process that puts the essentialism of Old Master paintings through a veritable endurance test. Taking a painting such as Cosimo Tura’s “Virgin and Child Enthroned”, Luke takes the line that charts the picture’s chromatic densities, whips it around like a spinning top, and then creates a three-dimensional model of the resultant form, which he photographs like some kind of strange, auratic, kinetic object. Deeply technical but also highly subjective, his practice turns abstraction into encryption to explore just how pure, how essential, and how unique an artwork really is. Luke Turner graduated with an MA from the RCA in 2010; notable exhibitions include “Systems and Patterns” at the Whitechapel Gallery (2009), “Let’s Go Home”, Hamburg, Germany (2009), Purdy Hicks Gallery (2010), and he was selected as “One to Watch” by Jotta Magazine (2009).
Jung-Ouk Hong’s sculptures explore the extent to which our imaginations can be colonised by external order. His sculptures look like creatures from the unknown which suddenly find themselves in a new, alien environment. Their shapes are reminiscent of insects and bugs, with unusual antennae that probe the unknown space around them; but these insects are somehow more machine than organic, like animals drawn from the depths of our imagination and then technologically reconfigured. We are as alien to them as they are unsettling to us – life-forms so adapted by engineering that we share not even the same parameters of perception or experience. His sculptures articulate the uncomfortable reality of how alien the rational becomes on its furthest fringes. Jung-Ouk Hong graduated with an MFA from the Slade in 2009, and has exhibited widely both in the Europe and Korea, including Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009 and the Guasch Coranty International Painting Prize in Barcelona (2010).