Nika Fontaine’s glitter paintings on view at the Götter Glamor exhibition at SomoS Berlin titillatingly contrast lyrical spirituality with glamor and kitsch.
The works by the young Berlin-based Canadian artist are presented in a coherent installation consisting of glitter canvasses and objects which emphasize Fine Art Painting’s roots in cult, myth and religion. It synthesizes a diverse array of spiritual influences such as Canadian Aboriginal Art, Catholicism, Pagan Mysticism, Buddhism, Psychedelia or Voodoo.
In the artist’s recent works, several art world conventions are being casually and playfully subverted. Nika’s Glam Rock-influenced persona and use of glitter as artistic tool defy clichés that still haunt the realm of Fine Art Painting. In an art context, glitter was first massively used in the Performance-art of The Cockettes and Leigh Bowery. Its more current usage includes Craft-, US-West Coast- and Queer art. Fontaine’s use of glitter initially stems from a practical need of the artist to heighten the intensity of color however, rendering it hyper-real and otherworldly. Using glitter means that a sense of meditation and hypnosis is present both in the painstakingly slow production and the precarious reception of the paintings. An element of interactiveness is part of their viewing, as they look different depending on viewpoint or time of day.
Historically, a reference to Fontaine’s glitter paintings are Kandinsky’s later painting which used more isolated shapes, and were painted with sand mixed into the paint. Baroque ornamentation, New Age’s obsession with stones, and the poetics and spirituality of Buddhist Mandala sand painting are referenced in the technique as well.
Fontaine’s use of bad taste and kitsch has historic precursors; in “Vache” art as practiced by painters like Magritte and Picabia, and in 1980’s German artists’ love of “Ekeltechniken” 1 of Polke, Trockel and Dokoupil, and Post-Punk art stances of Kippenberger and the Oehlen brothers.
How much irony is in play remains to be seen however. After all, a recent quote has Fontaine aiming “to create artistic psychotropics that lead to transcendence and happiness” and to be earnestly inspired by dreams, programmatically allowing a child-like innocence in her creative process.2 This kind of “New Sincerity” seems to be looking for a backdoor leading out of the locked and haunted house of clever Post-Modernism.
December 13th to 20th: Tues-Sat 14h – 19h
December 21st 2014 – January 10th 2015: by appointment RSVP
Finissage: Jan. 10th, 7pm RSVP
Opening Reception: Friday, December 12th, 7pm, with food by Ayan
Address: SomoS, Kottbusser Damm 95, 1st floor, 10967 Berlin
(Metro Line U8 Schönleinstrasse, exit Schinkestrasse, or U1 Kottbusser Tor)