This was my first solo exhibition at Hollerei Galerie (Vienna). The works depicted heavy political and societal events, to investigate how traditional painting topics operate when referencing the contemporary world of media –, and when they appropriate its formal codes.
Being unsatisfied with the possibilities of digital image editing, Bazant-Hegemark developed his own image abstraction software (enabling unusual fragmentarizations and transformations, and the calculation of a virtual third dimension from 2d images). The results are an integral part of his current image conception. Apart from these algorithmic image modifications, Bazant-Hegemark started to digitize images manually (“pixeling”), strongly referencing 1990s video game aesthetics, and resulting in the works’ surreal spin.
The exhibition focuses on works that transform iconic contemporary images in this multifold way (oftentimes depictions of suffering, morally “authorized” by media awards): photojournalistic sources get pixeled manually, abstracted algorithmically, edited in standard image editing software, printed on fabric and opened up to a traditional oil painting process. This way, the final images flirt with the surface’s alleged beauty; they are aestehtically charged, which quickly becomes unbearable considering the works’ actual depictions.
In this series, Bazant-Hegemark operates in an expanded contemporary painting mode, caring about understanding the capacity of visual media to depict and express. Today’s post-factual media lost its authenticity – having exchanged it with self-referential journalistic networks, for which images only matters as surface: as effect and commodity. There is no more relying on an image’s accuracy: in media, reality and fiction lost their distance. As a result, contemporary mimetic painting is in an unkown situation: it can create, simulate and appropriate, but can only imagine actual authenticity in depicting things happen outside of painting.