6 Sept - 22 Nov 2008 - Galerie Adler, Frankfurt Germany



Preview: Fri 5 Sept 2008 6pm

Gordon Cheung’s first solo show in Germany takes place from September 5th to October 18th, 2008 at Galerie ADLER in Frankfurt am Main. The show‘s title takes it’s name from James Jesus Angleton‘s phrase ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ with which he used to describe the double-agent confusion and strange loops of espionage. James Jesus Angleton was a long-serving chief of CIA’s counter-intelligence staff in the 1950s and many commentators believe that Angleton took the term from T. S. Eliot’s poem ‘Gerontion’ with whom he was friendly with.

The title of the show alludes to landscape and the dark undertones of conspiracy and paranoia. Cheung’s multi-media paintings reflect his interests in the power structures, belief systems and our obedience to them. In formal terms he twists the figure ground relationship into an oscillating mobius strip. The initial perception of his paintings seem to exist in the figurative dimension yet closer inspection reveals that the base of all his paintings are actually stock listings from the Financial Times. These abstract numerical lists flatten the space and paradoxically signifies a virtual reality that intertwines our real lives on a global scale.

Cheung’s paintings capture the hallucinations between the virtual and actual realities of a globalised world oscillating between Utopia and Dystopia. Spray paint, oil, acrylic, pastels, stock listings and ink collide in his works to form epic techno-sublime vistas.
All the time he makes visual and conceptual references to the discourse of Modernist painting by using the archetypal visual rhetoric of Modernism; flatness, grid, gesture and materiality. The use of different techniques and languages deliberately interrupts the reading of the painting to encourage, in Cheung’s words, a kind of telescopic deconstruction, that has a relationship to the way, how we are always looking or experiencing something beyond. For example when we speak into phones, write and read emails or surf for information on the Internet, it’s as if we are in an alternate dimension. It’s as if we temporarily dematerialise into virtual landscape.

Cheung began using the stock listings in 1995 when mobile phones and internet were becoming readily available. He was excited by the utopic euphoria of digital frontiers, global villages, information superhighways and Cyberspace; this digital and communication revolution compelled him to visually respond to this modern dimension. Time and space had collapsed into the instant - reconfiguring our perceptions into a state of constant flux. The utopic euphoria was short-lived with the collapse of tech stocks after the entrance into the 21st century, the global hysteria over the millenium and by the titanic corporate corruption of Enron and Worldcom. All these events were underlined by more recorded natural disasters than at any other time, followed by the twin tower attacks that led to Global War of Terror.

If you think of what is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, you could also philosophize about the stock market as about the belief in God or another possible power. Cheung has converged these ideas and raises questions to visualize us the megalithic structure, in which we all exist. It is for him our contemporary landscape – a Wilderness of Mirrors.

Galerie Adler Frankfurt am Main
Hanauer Landstraße 134
60314 Frankfurt

+49 (0)69 43053962
fax +49 (0)180 3118866568
+49 (0)170 7324366


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