Amsterdam, 22 Apr - 30 Jun '06
Drawings, Songs and Video.
Almost everyone longs for meaningful contact, whether it is through involvement in a public event or a private interaction. In fact, even seemingly aggressive acts can reveal vulnerability in this regard, which attests to the truly complex nature of human relations.
British artist, David Haines, creates contemplative and obsessive drawings, songs, and videos to connect with the unfamiliar -- he offers personal representations of the anonymous figures central to his voyeuristic pursuits, he locates poetic contexts in ambiguous texts drawn from online forums and, through his observations, seemingly banal scenarios prove to be extraordinarily multifaceted. Haines knows there is always more than meets the eye, and he invites audiences to join him the search for that which lies beneath the surface.
Images culled from the internet provide the starting point for Haines' drawings, which explore characterizations of passivity and control, as well as assumptions made about people who engage in these roles. The sheer volume of images available as a result of increasingly accessible digital technology motivates Haines to work in ways that demonstrate stronger evidence of humanity. To assert his presence as an active participant in his recreation of each image, Haines injects personal elements - spat out chewing gum or blood soaked mosquitoes, squashed on the paper surface.
Highlighting the intentionally concealed identities of individuals
photographed in various provocative scenarios, Haines acknowledges the transcendence of these figures into symbols of desire and opponents of the notion of taboo. The intimate moments Haines depicts seek to encourage audience involvement through the provision of various points of entry, particularly in the form of recognizable logos that help to establish familiarity, and to facilitate possible resonance.
Haines' songs and videos embrace the tradition of folk songs as a means of relaying the mythologies of daily personal interactions. In an effort to diversify his strategies for communicating through words, Haines draws from a range of sources (i.e. covert audio recordings, bureaucratic literature and the Internet) in order to create the lyrics for each song.
As a result, some of the works are elusive while others are directly humorous. However, despite striking differences in the tone and content of each of one, a distinctly tender quality prevails. Additionally, by emphasizing the romantic elements that are not readily apparent in potentially hostile scenarios, Haines points out the fluid nature of supposedly defined conditions.
Text: Milena Placentile, Amsterdam, April 2006