“How can art lie when the reality is not true enough,” :mentalKLINIK

Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde announced artist duo :mentalKLINIK’s second solo exhibition. Truish not only presents an ambiguous scenario, but also asks a pertinent question: What is the truth? How does one gauge the truthiness of something? What you see in this exhibition is perhaps true – or maybe not, and this ambiguity becomes the fuel to question our reality and surroundings.

With a keen interest in invisible politics and dynamics that shape our everyday lives, :mentalKLINIK reveal awkward, alien and surreal elements into the exhibition space. Such is the case in the neon work Are You Popular Enough? that sees an overlapping of their handwritings to challenge the existence of their duo and creates a fuzzy understanding of how much is enough to achieve complete satisfaction. The artists do not attempt to remind us of the regular or the normal, instead they create an uncanny and overwhelming environment that takes a jab at reality (and art) by navigating a slippery slope that is the ‘truth’. This echoes in the non-serious, pastel coloured frames around covers of the prestigious Time magazine, which are overlaid with cheaply produced stickers and popular Emojis to generate multiple layers and surfaces. By manipulating the aesthetics of a credible source of information in this manner, these personalised covers raise an eyebrow on accountability and political strategies.

The truth can be fickle in the age of Internet and digital reproduction, and Phony skilfully brings this into the rhetoric. The round clear glass works embedded with solar film allow visitors to indulge in an involuntary performance as the colours of the work change with the viewer’s orientation. This performative element is also evident in Chromatic Madness, where the artists carry out physically strenuous activities such as crushing, rolling and flattening to temper with a dichroic film. In doing so, :mentalKLINIK allude to Josef Albers’ playful informality of relying on one’s body and easily available material to create works that take the preciousness out of art. The minimalist Self-Seeking Superficials also draw inspiration from Albers’ colour interaction theory where the American-German artist explores how different colours behave with each other. :mentalKLINIK thus overlay brightly coloured polyester solar films and create multiple spaces where the background, the object and the subject are visible at once. The viewer sees their distorted and sublimated self reflected into the work that conforms to the underlying notions of being manipulated in the digital age.


Venue: Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde
Dates: November, 6 – December, 30

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