Personal Effects: Paul Insect with Avant Arte in Amsterdam
As for most people out there, the past two years were an absolute roller coaster of personal and professional ups and downs, yet, in the midst of all that, Paul Insect managed to produce a truly massive body of coherent work that is currently on view in Amsterdam. Personal Effects opened on Thursday, 19th of November at a popup location at Laurieregracht 142 and will stay on view until Thursday, 2nd of December.
Realized in collaboration with Avant Arte, an edition platform that Insect has been work with in the past couple of years, the exhibition is following up on the smaller solo presentation earlier this year in Athens. Occupying a vacant spacious venue in Amsterdam's historic Jordaan neighborhood, Personal Effects brings a rundown of the London-based artist's eclectic practice. From iconic paintings on canvas, over paintings on found objects, sculptural assemblages from found objects, new series of glass figures, drawings, Polaroids, to a couple of new limited editions produced especially for the event, the work is seamlessly unifying the variety of influences that inform Insect's current practice and process.
The top floor of the space was reserved for a new series of glass sculptures which were created after pen drawings made especially for this project. Evoking the DIY vibe of his "rubbish puppets" these new works can be used as sweet jars. Arguably the stand out pieces in this large presentation are the two large new paintings in which the artist is breaking away from the calculated sharpness and cleanliness of his printmaking and graphic design background and is tapping into the expressive painting. Insect's signature halftones and dotted surfaces were developed originally in effort to paint like a photocopy, and years later, the artist is introducing a more spontaneous approach to mark-making, blending some of those elements with the energy and dynamics of action painting. Alongside those, the exhibition includes a series of tondo paintings, as well as paintings on found objects, which are certainly in dialogue with the series of puppet-like sculptures made from discarded materials. This whole idea of recycling and upcycling is permeating the whole presentation, culminating in the way the work is presented inside a former residential space alongside Amsterdam's canals. Having the work on display on bare walls, Insect is staying true to the DIY approach which has been the backbone of his practice for decades. -Sasha Bogojev
Photo credit by Jonathan de Waart and Sasha Bogojev