Encounter is pleased to present ‘What Remains’, opening on the 20th May.

Appearing at a critical moment for artists and audiences in the wake of the latest Covid-19 lockdown, this exciting curatorial project brings together eleven institutionally acclaimed international artists for the first time.

The exhibition reflects on what remains and what is lost in a rapidly changing, and uneven world. Concerned with contemporary archeology and precarious temporalities, the exhibited artists negotiate the borders between imagination, memory and artistic reproduction from varied cultural standpoints. Imagined futuristic cityscapes hazily hover on retro video screens; rock formations from emptied riverbeds are cast onto fragmentary assemblages of industrial forms; archived collections of found images are intermeshed with digital detritus and transcribed in paint. Navigating a fault line between image formation and deconstruction, accumulation and erasure, the displayed works inhabit an unstable space somewhere between figuration and abstraction. Often crossing boundaries between mediums, the artists engage these issues through complex and innovative material practices.

Exploring the slippage of images through an intriguing process of photographic reproduction, Antony Cairns presents a pair of nighttime cityscapes extending a series of photomontages which previously exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Breda. Sections from Cairns photographs are individually inkjet printed onto groups of obsolete IBM computer punch cards then re-constituted into arresting visions of the metropolis. Nicolas Feldmeyer and Gabrielė Adomaiytė also investigate a complex layering of analogue and digital. In Feldmeyer’s work, watercolors and graphite sketches are digitally scanned and merged with three dimensional architectural renderings before returning as works on paper. The result is uncanny landscapes which belie the complexity of their production and sit both within a tradition of romanticism and minimal abstraction. Focusing on the moment that historically-significant visual information falls apart and disintegrates, Adomaiytė’s paintings perform the instabilities of personal and collective memory through scanning, erasure and repetition.

An engagement with deep time also runs throughout many of the show’s works. Whitney McVeigh will exhibit important paintings from her ‘Archaeology of Memory’ series, extending an ongoing concern with ‘marking time’ and the images that form psychological maps within us. In works building on a residency at The Nirox Foundation in South Africa, McVeigh channels the imprinted traces of the land and the bodies who once travelled through it. In Gerry Judah’s scarred canvasses, repeated forms often rise to the surface. From one angle, a sculptural painting suggests the branches of a prayer tree carved against the sky; from another it evokes the architectural remnants of an archaic monument. Meanwhile, in Charles Hadcock’s terracotta ‘Idiom’ sculpture, light dances across multifaceted geometric forms which contain textures of fossils painstakingly formed over millennia.

Materials carry complex histories, both visible and concealed. In Nour Jaouda’s evocative textile installation ‘From Dust to Rust’ the stained fabric’s fragile architecture becomes a site from which complex cultural identities can be unraveled, textured and re-routed. Taking another approach, Lawrence Calver extracts and juxtaposes sections of early 19th century Chinese silk screens and clothing, reconstituting them, and the histories they carry, in powerful abstract compositions.

Adam Ball and Neha Vedpathak both explore the echoes of landscapes through the fragile medium of distressed paper. In his monumental charcoal drawing ‘The things I’ve seen’ Ball painstakingly layers, cuts and erodes found images to the point of dissolution. In Vedpathak’s ‘plucked’ Japanese paper works, suggestions of remembered places and moments appear to intuitively emerge within the material’s intricate webs.

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