During the COVID-19 pandemic, Upstream Gallery presents Upstream Focus, a series of single work exhibitions in our private viewing space. Every week we will highlight the work of one artist, both online as well as offline. The work is to be visited solely by appointment. Book your own timeslot, free of charge, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
16 - 22 May
Since the exhibition Particles of Dust at Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam in 2017 Ammerlaan shift-ed his attention to the physical matter. It is the world’s matter that is his medium, excavated from the ground, moving in circles around us and falling from the sky. In order to get a grip on our surroundings he tries to understand what this space is made out of and how to scrutinise it.
“Material no longer needs to be understood as a detachable carrier for a form or an idea, but can be regarded as indissolubly interwoven with it”. The raw matter is an autonomous element, an intermediary material, and part of a transmuting process, unfolding itself between things and thoughts. Whilst materiality is subject to form and idea it also constituting the building blocks of the universe and being the source of potent metaphors. Fossil fuels, cosmic particles dating back to the oldest times of our solar system, an array of metals and elements, raw particles and pigments, dust and dirt are just a selection of media used in his practice.
“In my work you will find a particle order as well as a chromatic order. Matter has an objective history, yet it also has a subjective and cultural context when we experience its hue. Though col-our is never unimportant, as Donald Judd stated, no colour exists without being accompanied by material”. Heavy industrial zinc treatments are applied onto metal to protect it from decay and to prolong its life by transforming one material into another. This ‘modern day alchemy’ is an act of rejuvenation generating an uncontrollable array of colour.
Matter is not a passive agent but rather a dynamic and evolutionary one which transforms, mu-tates and deteriorates. The pattern it creates is deeply woven into the fabric of our lives in the cosmos and produces an overwhelming sense of geometry which in turn is shaped by the weight of all existing matter forged and arranged in an orderly system.
For a new series of ‘Leadworks’, Ammerlaan has systematically folded and deformed the dense but malleable metal. Lead is contaminated with meaning, it is alchemical and poisonous but also used as radioactive armour. Forged during the explosion of a star, the chemical element Uranium over time decays into the stable element Lead able to protect the human body being overex-posed by the radiation of its former self.
Image: Detail of Untitled, 2020. Lead.
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