Galerie Peter Kilchmann opens its third solo exhibition with Hernan Bas

ZURICH.- Galerie Peter Kilchmann is presenting its third solo exhibition with Hernan Bas. Hernan Bas was born in 1978 in Miami, Florida, where he still lives and works. His paintings and works on paper are influenced both in narrative as pictorically by his fantasies with the aesthetic and decadent writers of the 19th century, such as Oscar Wilde or Joris-Karl Huysman. He often displays protagonists that seem to be lost as if in a game of their own making. Within the framework of the exhibition, Hernan Bas presents a newly created group of works consisting of large and small-scale paintings of acrylic on linen as well as works on paper. A catalog with a text by Storm Janse van Rensburg will be published on occasion of the exhibition.

Under the title Bloomsbury revisited, Hernan Bas embarks on an expedition to the bohemian world of the Bloomsbury Group, the members of which include writers, painters and philosophers such as Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, during the first half of the 20th century. The group was connected by a complex network of relationships shaped by shared interests, an unconventional world view, and an open approach to sensuality. They regularly met in English countryside retreats, such as the residence Charleston to hold drama readings, art projects and discussions.

Inspired by the liberal lifestyle of this illustrious group of artists, Hernan Bas explores in his new body of works the environment of their artistic processes. Another source of inspiration could be his own collection of curiosities from the last two centuries. In 2013 he set up a Wunderkammer at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami and motifs from his collection often seem to appear in his paintings. The result is a series of portraits, colorful interiors and still lifes that seem to symbolically bring back to life that vanished atmosphere.

The patterns in the porcelain plate or the arrangement of the objects displayed in the works Bloomsbury Revisited (parroting) and Bloomsbury Revisited (air plants) remind one of the interiors of Vanessa Bell‘s studio in the Charleston residence. A closer look into Bloomsbury Revisited (Bananas) recalls the memorable print motifs of the linen fabrics designed by Duncan Grant. Each work within the exhibition reveals something new to the viewer: a carpet, a vase, or a dried sea fan such as in Bloomsbury Revisited (fireplace, little Havana). Due to their design and intense colors the works could also represent objects of the present day. And yet, there is a slight tension in each angle, as if one were to witness the scenes of the Bloomsbury circle through a window. Nevertheless, Bas does not seem to be concerned primarily with the pieces of furniture, arrangements and decorative elements, but rather with the feeling they evoke in the viewer: a quiet taste of the unconventional lifestyle, at the center of which is the figure of the, in many respects, free-spirited and liberal intellectual.

Subsequently, we are faced with a portrait of a young man in Hernan Bas’ Bloomsbury revisited (the new perfume) (see invitation card), who seems to be looking down at the viewer with a slight arrogance through a reclining posture and opaque bedroom eyes. Images of the self-conscious, nonchalant dandy of the 1920‘s come to mind. The tight-fitted, rust-red sweater, the feminine flower patterns of the blazer laid loosely over his shoulders – but also the objects in his surroundings, the perfume bottle to his right, the vase of flowers on the dresser in the background give the young man a soft, almost androgynous touch. The palette with colorful paint stains on the back wall testifies to his activity as a painter. Whether as a magnet of attention within a group of moving figures like in Bloomsbury revisited (cactus flower) or as a melancholic individualist who seems to be facing the viewer and yet far away in thought as in Bloomsbury Revisited (red coat) or Bloomsbury Revisited (Paper flowers), the young men leaves the viewer with a desire to throw another glance into his fascinating world.

Hernan Bas has been presented in numerous exhibitions around the world. The SCAD Museum, Savannah, Georgia is currently showing Hernan Bas. Florida Living, an impressive solo exhibition curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg. A further important solo exhibition, The other side, was curated by Ren Zechlin in 2012 at the Kunstverein Hannover. In 2016 Hernan Bas participated in the group exhibition A sum of it’s Parts at the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida. In 2015 he was part of the exhibition Tracing Shadows at the Samsung Museum, Seoul, South Korea. In 2014 a comprehensive anthology on Hernan Bas, with texts by Christian Rattermeyer and Jonathan Griffin, and an interview between Hernan Bas and Nancy Spector from the Guggenheim Museum, New York, was published by Rizzoli International Publications, New York. On occasion of the exhibition Hernan Bas – Bloomsbury revisited a catalogue with illustrations of the new works and a cover design by Hernan Bas has been published. Designed by Andrea Bianchin the catalogue is for sale in the gallery.

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