Artwork of the month - video (56 sec)
with special guest Karen Verschooren*.

Confabulation on paper #7

Year 2023
Size 70 cm x 110 cm
Materials Steinbach paper, soft pastels, ink, paint
Options /
Edition 1/1
For Sale Yes, contact our gallery Fred&Ferry (Antwerp, BE)

In the last couple of years F&R R&F have sought to explore new methods of capturing and sharing both their performances and their small interventions in the public space. The duo started out with conventional video and photo documentation, amassing an extensive archive of digital footage over the years. Some of their photos became the subject of a series of silkscreen prints. These silkscreen prints are produced layer on layer, colour on colour. A certain degree of imprecision is inherent to the process of aligning the various image layers. The minor deviations that result from this have the effect of making every silkscreen print unique, just like every performance.

The four-colour silkscreen prints were made by the artists themselves. And though they were pleased with the uniqueness of these prints, they felt they were still too perfect a representation of the original photo. The prints failed as a representation of the entire performance, merely capturing a certain time frame – an instant. They didn’t fully capture the energy of the performance and their personal feeling about the landscape and the environment, among other qualities.

In an effort to ‘complete’ the image, they tried augmenting the prints with writing, drawings and symbols. In this way, the print underwent another transformation. From reproduction to unique artwork, from a moment in time to an energetically charged entity that harnesses a dialogue and an intention.

This augmented print – and many others like it – was made during the artists’ last solo exhibition at Fred&Ferry gallery, Antwerp. There R&F F&R took over one exhibition space and made it into a temporary art studio. They remained in residence there for over seven weeks, reflecting on their current ambitions and artistic plans. Because Frank and Robbert are at a crossroads: their lives are changing and they face new challenges. As a means of questioning life and their artistic practice, they turned to drawing, viewing every drawing as a silent dialogue.

In this particular drawing, various elements of the R&F suitcase series are interconnected: the protective ‘foo dog’, the masquerade of their alter egos and the element of play. The layout of the drawing hints at a playing card, with its upside-down mirroring of figures. The forest in the background seems to be seeping into the foreground, taking over the frame and becoming an abstract mass of wild colours and gestures. As a result of the artists’ process, this one drawing might be more telling than an hour-long video of one of their interventions in the public space.

* Karen Verschooren (°1982) is a contemporary art curator based in Belgium. As Head of Exhibitions at STUK Arts Centre, Leuven (BE) she curated solo exhibitions with a.o. Robbert&Frank Frank&Robbert (2022), Helen Cammock (2021), Angela Washko (2021), Mircea Cantor (2020), Sebastián Díaz Morales (2019), Mika Taanila (2018), Nevin Aladağ (2018), Omer Fast (2017), Joachim Koester (2017), Emre Hüner (2016), John Akomfrah (2016), and Bjørn Melhus (2015), as well as group exhibitions such as Wired for Empathy (2021), AND& - Look at Us Now (2021) Alone Together (2020), Parallel Crossings (2019), This Rare Earth - Stories from Below (2018), On Alchemy and Magic (2017), The Act of Magic (2017), and Up in the Air (2016).

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