Galerie Richard

Joseph NECHVATAL - Odyssey pandemOnium : a migrational metaphor

Press release

Galerie Richard is pleased to announce the fourth solo exhibition of Joseph Nechvatal titled Odyssey pandemOnium: a migrational metaphor. Odyssey pandemOnium is a new series of paintings by Joseph Nechvatal that returns us symbolically to Homer’s displaced champion and his odd wanderings. However, Odyssey pandemOnium does not illustrate Homer’s epic poem; rather, hints of classical sumptuousness and visual order here are submitted to controlled disorder through indeterminacy. This chance element is important in the construction of a lyrical consideration of human migration.

The characters Odysseus, his son Telemachus, his waiting wife Penelope, Polyphemus, Poseidon and a lyric siren loosely come together to suggest the beauty and pain of the migrating world. Present in the paintings is a partially hidden world of people and places (and images) lost and at ideological drift, looking for scenic alternatives.

The 10 paintings of Odyssey pandemOnium are conceptually situated within Nechvatal’s immersive noise theory. They make use of a complicated turmoil produced from close exchanges within figure/ground relationships that challenges us to think outside of the normal system of human perception. Classical looking figures are embedded into a complex and subtle ground so the normal figure/ground relationship more or less merges. Painted on suede-like velour canvas, the colors used are dusty and subtle. This new support better contributes to the fugitive nature of the floating and migrating imagery. This double intricacy is what Odyssey pandemOnium is about, in one sense: being misplaced and adrift. The viewer’s eye must navigate the visual pandemonium in a way that suggests Odysseus’s wanderings.

This pandemonium is characteristic of Nechvatal’s art-of-noise theory that he established in his book Immersion Into Noise in 2011 and further developed last year in his Punctum Press book, Minóy. Within the framework of Odyssey pandemOnium, Punctum Press has launched a book with an original epic poem about the eros of the eye by Joseph Nechvatal entitled Destroyer of Naivetés.

Joseph Nechvatal (b. 1951) is an American post-conceptual artist and art theoretician who employs his hand-made drawings and digital means to produce paintings and animations. The centrality of his oeuvre revolves around computer-generated viruses that he created in C++ in collaboration with programmer Stephane Sikora. In his paintings, the computer virus surfaces as the active agent which manipulates and corrupts the information stored in the image (the host), decreasing its integrity. This corruption allows Nechvatal to use the virus as a painting implement; therefore it can be viewed as a constructive, creative process.

Nechvatal earned in 1999 a Ph.D. in the philosophy of art and new technology. His experience in teaching at SVA and publishing activities is significant. His book Immersion Into Noise served as the base for the show Noise held at the Venice Biennale in 2013. He regularly contributes to the cultural platform Hyperallergic with his critical writings. His art has been exhibited worldwide in galleries and museums.


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