'Wege in den Nihilismus' and 'Be Not Content'
Dennis Rudolph & Mark Titchner
Upstream Gallery proudly presents a duo exhibition with new works of German artist Dennis Rudolph (Berlin, 1979) and the worldpremier of a videoinstallation of British artist Mark Titchner (Lutin, 1973).
Dennis Rudolph makes sinister landscapes and dramatic portraits in oil paint or graphics His landscapes can be related to the tradition of the symbolically charged Romantic landscape painting. Auratic sceneries, such as deserted landscapes, expansive skies, mountaintops or rocky coasts and gigantic towers are adjusted to the modern time by the insertion of a modern metropolis, electricity pylons and skies ripped by aeroplanes. But whereas the religious symbolism of for example Caspar David Friedrich’s landscapes can be deciphered, Rudolph’s secular landscapes remain silent and miss allegorical meaning. He appropriates the allegorical image as symbolic representation of universal conceptions of the world (be it mythological or religious). Rudolph reintegrates allegory and symbolism into contemporary art by disposing the image of its religious meaning.
Recently Rudolph developed a special ‘offset’ printing technique. Starting from studies about Wagners Ring des Nibelungen, the series of works in this exhibition culminates in the allegorical picture of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History. Dennis Rudolph exalts the ninetheenth century Romantic landscape to a contemporary scene with a universal meaning.
In a separate room in the gallery the worldpremier of the 2 channel video installation ‘Be Not Content‘ 2011 by Mark Titchner is displayed. The moving black and white images and the disturbing atmosphere of this work can be related to the work of Rudolph. Mark Titchner’s art explores the tensions between the different belief systems that inform society, be they religious, scientific or political. He focuses on marginalized, shameful or forgotten objects and ideologies on which we base our faith. Titchner gets his motives from the world of advertisment, religious iconography, club flyers, banners, political propaganda and other agencies vying for attention.
The common denominator of this search for idealism is the search for enlightenment, a desire for some form of transcendence. But abstracted from its original context, the message is stripped of it’s meaning. We know that we are asked to respond, but the goal is unclear. Leaving us behind with the formal means of encouragement and our personal desire for the knowledge of meaning.