As part of pump house gallery’s commitment to showing new works by emerging artists and recent graduates, comes this exhibition of new and recent works by London based Axel Antas and Michael Samuels. Evident in the work of both artists is a desire to define freedom and a search for individualism. Each poses ontological questions with humour and simplicity but an underlying gravity and complexity. Also in common is an eclectic use of media from photography to animation and the use of scale models either as sculpture in its own right or used in scale distorting photographic imagery.
Finnish artist Axel Antas creates something out of almost nothing, with poetic and intimate results. Dust, condensation, clouds and snow have been utilised as drawing material to create video or photographic work. These poetic and intimate pieces are mesmerising and ultimately satisfying, functioning as small performances captured. Antas frequently refers to journeys which remain in transit, never arriving, with the viewer as the passenger. Beginnings and endings intermingle so that finally we must turn away, the journey unresolved.
Samuels’ work is similarly playful, reflecting on urban life, often from a birds eye view. Pinpricked light maps represent the London we experience only when arriving on an plane. If urban living leads us to dream of escapes, in Samuels’ hands, and perhaps influenced by his upbringing in Australia, these musings are delivered as immaculate idealised paradise views, experienced in the form of stunning fictitious miniature islands and seascapes. In Alain de Botton’s recent novel The Art of Travel, he is dismayed to find on arrival at his holiday destination that he ‘had inadvertently brought (himself) on holiday with (him)’. Similarly Samuels’ view may be that the search is fruitless and paradise elusive. On the way though, he mesmerises us with his beautifully constructed idyllic works.
Axel Antas graduated from Goldsmiths College Fine Art BA in 2000. He has screened his videos in LUX, Five Years and Underwood Street Gallery among other. He has exhibited at The Economist Building, The Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva) and Prenelle Gallery amongst others in London as well as with numerous gallery spaces in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Indonesia.
Michael Samuels graduated from the Royal College of Art Sculpture MA in 2000, since when he has exhibited with Bowieart, Gasworks Gallery, in Paul Smith's Floral Street window and Art Futures and in Amalgamate, New York as part of the UKinNY Festival. Samuels was also commissioned by BAA for a work at Gatwick Airport.
Top picture: Flightpath (lightbox detail) by Michael Samuels.
Bottom picture: Breathing Himself Invisible by Axel Antas