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'Underground Memorandum' by Richard Nikl at Shore, Vienna

Five new works on canvas show clusters of air pockets on monochromatic grounds. They are at once representational and abstract - following the spatial norms of everyday terrestrial experience while vaguely respecting the finer points of Euclidean geometry. You are in a hole, you are in a cave, you are inside you. The evident morphological integrity of the series - dealing with asymmetrical symmetry, polymetric patterns, seamless shell forms and contemporary theories of spatial organisation - produces obvious phenomenological problems. What we are looking for is a basic unit of artistic signification to simplify the complex variegated order, which society is no longer able to face. 

The Underground Memorandum is a co-interpretation. It is a testimony in the form of a borehole sample, a composition of cavities with shovels, pickaxe and miner’s helmet. A visualisation of J.R. Pick’s aphorism: a hatching chick exclaims “I’ve never seen such a mess!” Nikl’s work mines pure geometric abstraction and closes the deal: what he owes the grid and what the grid owes him. 

21.4.23 — 3.6.23


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