Solo exhibition, Architectural intervention
10 April – 19 June 2016
Curator: Roos Gortzak
Melissa Gordon’s practice is centred upon an ongoing investigation into the politics of abstraction and the intimacies within artistic processes. In her work as a painter, printmaker and editor Gordon often draws on source materials she considers 'by-products' of history – from the modernist grid structure to the traces of painterly residue found in her artist studio – magnifying pictorial elements, emphasising patterns, and distorting information to uncover hidden structures. In doing so, Gordon’s works make reference to both the gestural traditions of abstract expressionism and the mechanical procedures of reproducibility distinctive to modernism.
The selection of works displayed in Routine Pleasures came from Gordon’s Material Evidence series; mimetic representations of unintended marks – such as paint spills and smeared brush strokes – found on the walls, floors and surfaces of her artist studio. Gordon blows up, zooms-in on and crops these accidental gestures before carefully reproducing them in acrylic on canvas; replacing her own initial carelessness with a purposeful and studied imitation: a routine pleasure. Exhibited in the gallery, the works stood as proof of the artist’s labour in the studio, an effect that is amplified by their hanging on unfinished gallery walls – themselves a reference to technologies of production and display. Presented together in horizontal series, the works also revealed a photographic relationship to each other, as if seen from the eye of a camera as it pans across a wall and registers its surface information. To this end, Routine Pleasures – which takes its title from a 1986 film by Jean-Pierre Gorin that explores our desire to re-create the past – foregrounded a series of enduring relationships for the artist; the relationship between representation and abstraction, between presence and absence, and between painting and film. The paintings were shown as part of an architectural intervention developed especially for this exhibition. Two of the paintings (diptych) were added to the Vleeshal collection.