Klaas Kloosterboer at Hidde van Seggelen Gallery, London

Porta Nigra
Curated by Mark Kremer
08.12.2012 – 15.02.2013
Exhibition preview: 08.12.2012, 6-9pm

Participating artists include Ansuya Blom, Harmen Brethouwer, Hugo Canoilas, Guy Debord, Helmut Federle, Siobhan Hapaska, Taf Hassam, Susan Hiller, Klaas Kloosterboer, Pieter Laurens Mol, Carl Michael von Hauswolff, Astrid Nobel, Susan Norrie, Roland Schimmel and Michael Stubbs.

Hidde Van Seggelen Gallery is delighted to present Porta Nigra, a group exhibition curated by Dutch curator and art writer Mark Kremer. Porta Nigra has been conceived as an enquiry into the use and significance of black in contemporary art. The exhibition is named after the Roman city gate in Trier, Germany, which was named Porta Nigra or Black Gate in the middle ages because of the dark colour the stone it is made from had turned. Like the original Porta Nigra, this show also acts as a passageway. The curator Mark Kremer
describes his starting point for the exhibition as a ‘psychological and existential passage in a dark territory’ but also as ‘an urgent, enriching experience’. It is envisaged as a dense and rich exhibition, both spirited in feel and in its physical presence within the gallery.

Presented within Porta Nigra is a selection of significant works by fifteen artists whose practices delve into such dark concerns. Spanning painting, sculpture, installation, sound, photography and film, the works in the exhibition have been selected for their ability to transcend their dark origins. Touching upon notions of the sublime and the alchemical, dense black surfaces of lacquer and enamel conjoin here with painted depictions of light, a record of the sound of silence, records of human protest and the burnt remains of former artworks.

The accompanying publication includes an introduction by Mark Kremer, as well as individual curator’s notes discussing each work from the exhibition. As Kremer writes in the introductory essay ‘what lies beyond the limits of our vision, what exists within the darkness, is a terrain we are drawn to imagine all the more. It (black) is the very darkest colour, a result of the absence or complete absorption of light….With their dominant blacks, secondary greys, soft degrees and sudden flashes of whites, as well as a few faint and ‘real’ colours, the artworks in Porta Nigra form an abstract spectrum.’

In the wide-ranging works shown throughout this exhibition, there is an emphasis on the transformative power of material and colour. Porta Nigra is an ode to black, presenting it not only as a colour but as a state of mind, a property of light, and a magical and absorbing phenomena.

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