David Hominal: PRICELESS / MASTERCARD
kamel mennour, London
December 12 – January 25, 2020
Painting is first of all the liquid, aqueous material binding together the different fields of David Hominal’s practice, from performance to video, dance to sculpture. This is where he takes stock, sorts, and synthesises, but it is also where he covers over, a territory made up of a complex network of inhibitions. His disturbed, at times feverish paintings are haunted by the great historical questions of representation. Their presence is powerful, rehearsing all the grand traditions, from still life to abstraction, without, of course, ever reconciling them.
Recently, sunflowers, pineapples, onions, and finally faces have been appearing on the surface of his canvases. What emerges from the paint in the series being exhibited at kamel mennour in London are hands joined in prayer. As was already clear in his earlier series of masks, Hominal’s interest for the image makes short work of regimes of seeing, communication, and transmission. From religious tradition to emoticons, his totems are evocative of an emotive, hyper-presence of the image. In an incredibly gymnastic play between the long-past and the hyper-present, these hands are just as much Albrecht Dürer’s Praying Hands as those we add to our text messages to say ‘plz’ or ‘thnx’.
While such a tension is characteristic of David Hominal’s work in general, this is also one of his first ‘almost’ figurative series. And the ‘almost’ is important here because it is synonymous with resistance. Though the hands are a symbol of contemplation, Hominal is not at peace with painting. Ultimately, what interests him is doing, the gesture of painting—both on an historical scale, like a great repetition, and on an intimate scale, like an obsession. Copy, sequence, ritualise. NISSAN, GAZPROM, RESPECT, NO SUGAR, PRICELESS, MASTERCARD are all visual impressions, furtive images permeating us as we watch sport on TV, for instance. The title of the exhibition relates to its content like interference. The messages repeat over and over again like a song we can’t get out of our head. The praying hands are an archetype. They are universal images. Hominal is reaching for them through a form of pure cultural syncretism, a pure incarnation of representation, a pure contradiction. PRICELESS / MASTERCARD.
Born in 1976 in France, DAVID HOMINAL lives and works in Berlin. His work has been shown
in a large number of solo and group exhibitions in France, including the Palais de Tokyo and the Centre culturel suisse in Paris, the Consortium in Dijon, and Magasin in Grenoble; as well as abroad, including the Musée Jenisch in Vevey, the Centre d’édition contemporaine and the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, the Swiss Institute
and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Fri Art in Fribourg, the Kunsthalle Bern, the Kunsthaus Zürich and the CAC–Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius.
© David Hominal. Photo. archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London