MPG Presents - So Many Constellations
Vincent Hawkins, Linda Hemmersbach, Nicholas John Jones, Hannah Luxton , Wendy McLean, Emma Puntis, Laura Smith, Sharon Swaine
Curated by Linda Hemmersbach
So Many Constellations presents eight painters whose work is concerned with painting as silent poetry.
Taking its title from Paul Celan’s poem ‘Soviel Gestirne’ (1963), the exhibition points towards the ability of painting to express the ‘unspeakable’ and ‘unknowable’, beyond the grasp of language. Exploring the importance of this idea, the show contains works of abstraction and figuration that consider pauses, breaks, shifts or emptiness as places that can be occupied spatially and psychologically.
‘Constellation’ refers to a human construction; both a forming of recognisable patterns to make meaning of that which is unfathomable, and also a group of related ideas, feelings or objects. The paintings in this exhibition may be read as existing at a point of a delicate permeability between micro and macrocosm, interior and exterior, bridging the gap between studio and world.
Paul Celan described a poem as ‘lonely and en route’. Similarly, a painting is an object ‘en route’ towards an encounter. Like a bottle thrown out to sea, its fate is uncertain, posing questions into the void. Contained and isolated, it hints at a reality beyond its edges, where meaning is found in darkness and uncertainty, at the fringe of experience.
So Many Constellations (Soviel Gestirne)
translated by Michael Hamburger
So many constellations that
are held out to us. I was,
when I looked at you - when? -
the other worlds.
O these ways, galactic.
O this hour, that weighed
nights over for us into
the burden of our names. It is,
I know, not true
that we lived, there moved,
blindly, no more than a breath between
There and Not-There, and at times
our eyes whirred comet-like
toward things extinguished, in chasms,
and where they had burnt out,
splendid with teats, stood Time
on which already grew up
and down and away all that
is or was or will be -,
I know and you know, we knew,
we did not know, we
were there, after all, and not there
and at times when
only the void stood between us we got
all the way to each other.