What is in a name? A name is often the first thing you learn about someone, but is the value of a name greater than a person’s individuality, creativity, personality or identity? What does a name really tell you? Is a name on a canvas someone?
Today, identity is increasingly becoming digital. Individuals can create login IDs and passwords to authenticate themselves in the digital world. Patterns of words, numbers or symbols have gradually become a means of differentiating one person from another; human identities reduced to a sequence of letters, digits or codes. On plastic, canvas and other man-made supports, Dennis Buck creates compositions filled with characters, often revealing his name, initials, the title or year of the work. These protruding letters and numbers are a recurring motif in his art, reflecting a constant fixation with artist identity and authenticity, inescapable desiderata in today’s art market.
In +491522414NAME, Buck’s first-ever solo exhibition in London at Roman Road, he presents some of his latest pieces; multilayered plastic works and sun bleached canvases are exhibited alongside a site-specific installation, which incorporates many of his idiosyncratic elements. Buck uses silicone to write on his pieces, pointedly pronouncing the characters from the background and enlivening his works with multi-dimensional textures. Often grouped or in uninterrupted flow, the fonts gesture the underlining subject of his canvases: the artist himself. Through his vibrant artworks he continually practices his signature, leaving a trace of his presence on everything he creates. We also sometimes find the same digits repeated, detailing his private phone number. In case you miss it, he even discloses this in the exhibition title (just use your keypad to decode the phoneword).