Bren­dan van Hek
Some Kind of Love Story

10th February – 26th March 2011
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

PUR­SU­ING EMPATHY 

For his first solo exhi­bi­tion at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Bren­dan Van Hek presents Some Kind of Love Sto­ry.

The exhi­bi­tion bor­rows its title from Arthur Miller’s 1982 play which probes the strug­gle for human con­nec­tion, set with­in the plot of a mur­der case. Con­sid­ered semi-auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal, the play draws upon deeply per­son­al, emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence which gen­er­alis­es into uni­ver­sal ques­tions of desire, lone­li­ness and the unre­quit­ed. Sim­i­lar­ly, Van Hek’s exhi­bi­tion, while con­cerned with open-end­ed ques­tions of love and the nature of rela­tion­ships and empa­thy, also begins with per­son­al expe­ri­ence and an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of iden­ti­ty. More broad­ly, the works in this exhi­bi­tion illu­mi­nate the ten­sion that exists in the phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and emo­tion­al dis­tances between people.

These ideas are rep­re­sent­ed by the series of sculp­tures, Unti­tled, and neon works, Two Colours (both 2011). The sculp­tures, mod­eled on pieces of domes­tic fur­ni­ture, are locat­ed in the gallery as pairs that at rst appear to be alike. On clos­er obser­va­tion slight vari­a­tions in the forms appear. While relat­ed, these sculp­tures stand as indi­vid­u­als. Sim­i­lar­ly, the six­teen cir­cu­lar neons that span the gallery like a hori­zon line, also installed as pairs, rep­re­sent com­ple­men­tary but dif­fer­ent com­po­nents through the use of inter­re­lat­ed colour. Ani­mat­ed by elec­tric­i­ty and light, the forms are per­son­i­fied, and the pairs trans­formed into couples.

The use of paired, ready­made objects to rep­re­sent human fig­ures in the work of Felix Gon­za­les Tor­res: twin mir­rors, a pair of light bulbs and exten­sion cords, has affect­ed Van Hek. How­ev­er while Gon­za­lez Tor­res’ cou­ples memo­ri­alise the rela­tion­ship of the artist and his depart­ed love, using par­al­lel objects as con­cep­tu­al por­traits; Van Hek’s works rep­re­sent the unre­quit­ed desire, or attempt, to tru­ly under­stand the feel­ings or thoughts of anoth­er. At the same time there is an acknowl­edg­ment of the deep rela­tion­ship pos­si­ble between beings, rep­re­sent­ed through the shared pow­er source con­nect­ing the paired objects – imply­ing a com­mon impulse.

The forms may also be read as rep­re­sen­ta­tions of two aspects of the same per­son fail­ing to rec­on­cile. In Miller’s play the char­ac­ter, Angela, per­forms mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties; in Dar­ren Aronofsky’s recent lm, Black Swan, the cen­tral char­ac­ter in Swan Lake is used as a device to inter­ro­gate the con­flict resid­ing with­in the protagonist’s psy­che. To con­tin­ue this idea, Van Hek’s forms per­haps inter­ro­gate dual­i­ty in gen­er­al: rea­son and emo­tion, mind and body, man and woman… 

Some Kind of Love Sto­ry sym­bol­i­cal­ly explores human rela­tion­ships and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of empathy.

Tania Doropou­los, 2011 

Images

Bren­dan van Hek

Some Kind of Love Story, 2011
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Bren­dan van Hek

Some Kind of Love Story, 2011
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Bren­dan van Hek

Some Kind of Love Story, 2011
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Bren­dan van Hek

Some Kind of Love Story, 2011
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Bren­dan van Hek

Some Kind of Love Story, 2011
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks