Swiss artist Andy Denzler’s ‘glitch’ or ‘freeze frame’ paintings exhibition (Another Day In Paradise) which opened in Vienna this past week, is on the one hand, a commentary on the issues of illusion and reality in our society; and on the other, the ephemerality of our existance; those fleeting moments of despair, disgust, sexual desire, loneliness, captured in the most intimate settings.
It is not by accident that the colors used in these paintings are pale, giving them a nostalgic impression, like 1980s analog photos or they’re somehow faded over time. This is another technique to make the viewer see the fakeness of photo-realism or the illusion of reality. A reality which nowadays has been hijacked by the images fed to us by the mass-media every awoken hour of our lives; hyped up, photoshopped to perfection, always in excess, they have become more real than reality itself, a simulated ‘hyperreality’ or what philosopher Jean Baudrillard calls ‘similacra’. In this state, reality is not what we gain from direct experience, but what we see on TV, a successive bombardment of information-rich similacra which over time slowly dissolves into our minds, replacing what we once thought was real.
In a video interview, Andy Denzler himself refers to Baudrillard and hyperreality when asked about the meaning of his work, and which may explain the sarcasm involved in the title of the exhibition (Just Another Day In Paradise), a ‘paradise’ in which we can’t tell fiction from reality, and where urban life becomes a fragmented series of ‘perpetual presents’ where things may happen logically, in sequence, or they maybe totally random. Cause and effect, is not held fast as a ‘truth’ anymore. Memories in such a life, becomes blurry.
These paintings are done in 2 layers: the first is painted photo-realistically, according to his source photos and allowed to dry. The second layer is painted on abstractly, with broad, fluid brush strokes and sections of it are then scraped off, revealing the realistic layer underneath, an act of ‘deconstruction’. We can also sense, in Black Flower Dress (2013) and History (2013), the materiality of the texture of the dress and the fabric of the sofa, heightening the contrast between the memory of the past and our perpetual present.