Bradley Davies & Jasmin Werner | Second Hand Emotion
Opening: Thursday, 12 March 2020, 7 – 9 pm
13 March until 11 April 2020
“He’s late again” she said, as she accidently let a bunch of words escape her mouth. She rarely spoke out of line and preferred to use hidden methods, such as simple industrial glue, pigments and pastry tools, in order to make her point of view visible. He usually puts his glasses on, sits on a chair uncomfortably close to the surface of the wall and slowly but steadily concentrates on creating the punch line for his next joke. “Sorry I’m late. Traffic was crazy. Plus, the place is now practically filled with bats, flies and countrymen” he whispered once entering the room.
The hidden poetics of the land, an idealized version of life on the countryside that follows the myths of a silent power, underlying nostalgic structures are encoded in images, systemic structures and collective knowledge. Working with the ambivalences of nature and machine, as well as the idyllic portrait of a haunted past that keeps peaking out from behind the fragile curtain of civility, Bradley Davies and Jasmin Werner create an open dialogue about the themes and politics of nostalgia. ‘Second Hand Emotion’ explores the dynamic of an artist-duo living and working together. At the same time their source material and reference systems also take the form of a second-life: in Jasmin Werner’s case, as reflected through her usage of found, rustic machinery, and in Bradley Davies’s considering his stance in the framework of painting.
Encompassing a range of media and materials the project consists of paintings, sculptures, installations and drawings. Davies moves within the medium of painting employing known materials and approaches from a long painterly tradition, such as oil on linen and figuration, which are combined with a sharp wit encoded in the heritage of conceptualism. This new body of work consists of small to medium sized paintings that take their cues from the ambivalent iconography of nature and countryside life. One of the paintings depicts an old, colonial style hat filled with hay; another portrays a busy bat just as she’s about to get away. Patiently stuck in limbo, two other pieces bring their viewer back to the sticky surface of the canvas using nothing but dead flies and bug trapping tape.
Jasmin Werner’s practice incorporates sculptures, collages on latex and installations with a distinct research-based logic, whilst alluding to the rituals and knowledge-production of pre-modern societies. For this collaborative project, Werner worked on a new large-scale sculpture using a vintage plow, which she reworked and adorned with piped glue and pigments, a common material available for purchase at every hardware store. The plow was found online and brought to Werner’s Cologne studio from a nearby rural area. Carefully manipulating the seams of industrially manufactured commodities, she repositions their meanings and composes her own reference systems. Through this process of sampling and repurposing Werner works her way through a labyrinth of politics and poetry that flow through the countless histories of rural societies.
“Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” they thought to themselves as they made their way down the stairs and into the car that was all set and ready to go. I managed to snatch a book from their library; one about power, paint and the unforgivable sin of telling bad jokes.