Michael Tedja. Hypersubjective.
Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Netherlands07 Jul 2018 - 14 Oct 2018
The Centraal Museum in Utrecht presents the exhibition Michael Tedja. Hypersubjective.
The centrepiece of the show is an overwhelming installation consisting of one hundred and thirty-four large drawings. In this installation, Tedja investigates the potential of his own visual language on paper. The series of drawings can be compared to chapters of a book. In each chapter, Tedja chooses a new starting point and imposes certain limitations, thereby repeatedly compelling a search for new solutions within each new series. The result is a highly varied visual language. Abstract, figurative, minimalist or instead extremely colourful and richly chequered series of drawings alternate with each other. Previous works by Tedja have also featured this vivid alternation between abstract and figurative visual language.
For this series, the works were framed by the surface of the paper and a limited number of materials from Tedja’s studio. As the artist explains, “By imposing limitations, my works became more spacious.” The limitation he chose for this exhibition was that of drawing. As a multidisciplinary artist, he previously worked primarily with collages, with paint and videos. “By subjecting myself to this limitation, I sought to maximise my imagination, and my work became freer. It shows where I am stronger than myself.” The work thus visualises the artist who chooses his own path and constantly switches back and forth between the conscious and the subconscious. Which choices ultimately dominate on paper? And where can the individual piece still be seen within the larger whole? Which component was stronger? Tedja demonstrates the idiom of drawing in a variety of facets.
The 134 framed works have been snugly placed on top of and next to each other, forming walls of images that completely surround the visitor. With the mirror effect of the glass, the work’s reflections stretch into infinity.
Briljante Man and The Holarium
This series of large-scale drawings was created in parallel with the writing of Michael’s novel Briljante Man (Brilliant Man), which was recently published by the Utrecht-based publisher IJzer. Briljante Man allows themes to emerge with the same kind of energy and creative urge as the drawings do. These themes include, among others: racism, art, artistship, writership, societal chaos. And all written in an experimental, highly original and associative style. The original, hand-written manuscript is displayed as part of the exhibition.
Also on display is the 70-kilogram original visual novel The Holarium – Negeren Series 818:32, in which the drawings are bundled together. This work, published by Sternberg Press, has been described as averse to the identity politics according to which artists can be defined by their cultural background (Tedja himself has Surinamese roots). Michael Tedja’s exhibition .Hypersubjective. thus offers an unusual contribution to this ongoing debate.
The exhibition can be viewed in Centraal Museum until 14 October 2018. After that, visitors can view drawings by Michael Tedja in the exhibition The Line Up until 18 November. This exhibition focuses on drawing as an act and presents works by a number of renowned artists and upcoming talents, under the guest curatorship of Robbie Cornelissen.