About the exhibition
In his sculptural works Paul Geelen questions the final shape. For him the process comes first, in which the work is adjusting to environmental fluctuations. Freely associating on the concept that we live in ‘liquid’ times, his works will solidify temporarily, but do not have the intention to take a definite shape.The exhibition The Shape of Things to Come will take his unique method – and the role of temporality in it – as a starting point. The title refers to a book of science fiction writer H.G. Wells (1866-1946), in which an intellectual leaves behind a ‘dream book’ full of visions. It resonates Geelen’s fascination with the interplay between past, present and future. The present is never far away from the past and can never be fully separated from it. Geelen looks back on a number of artworks, which proved to have certain essential values for the development of its current artistic language. Furthermore he will take possession of the gallery to work there in a temporary studio on visionary concepts, including a sculpture for Estate Het Buitenland.Characteristic for Geelen’s artistic process is his inventive exploration of materials and techniques. For this he draws from both alchemy and chemistry and he uses both natural and extremely artificial methods. For example, for the skin of the work Untitled (wet monochrome) he used a type of paint, which does not dry out between -40 and 40 degrees Celsius.And for a very subtle work (only 3 cm in diameter) he worked with the futuristic substance aerogel. This ultralight material was applied during the Stardust mission, a space mission in whom this material collected dust from the tail of a comet. Similarly the work Untitled (Aerogel) and Untitled (wet monochrome) are collecting dust out of the environment. These traces will give the future historian a possibility to sketch a rich profile of the (exhibition) history of these works.
In his temporary studio in the gallery Geelen will – in response to the weather conditions in the open polder landscape – perform pseudo-scientific experiments with wind. His will to experiment is not intended to find answers or absolute truths. Rather he is driven by the unpredictability of the outcome, the changeability and transformations that can be triggered by environmental circumstances. His admiration for the world around him provides an inexhaustible source of inspiration for his personal theories, balancing on the boundary between fact and fiction.Paul Geelen (1983, NL) lives and works in Amsterdam. This year, he completed his residency at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. His work was recently exhibited in The Hidden Picture at the Cobra Museum (Amsterdam, 2014) and is currently on display at the Akbank Art Center (Istanbul, 2015). Paul Geelen is the winner of the C.o.C.A. Commission 2015.