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Lev Khesin
Vernissage on Oktober 26, 6 - 9 pm
Duration of the exhibition: Oktober 27 - November 21, 2018

An open-ended experimental system by Lev Khesin

By Ekaterina Tewes

How does something new come about? How do you come up with a new idea and how do you create a thing that has not been there before? Does a thought take on material form? Or is that rather the matter itself, is that about their dumb presence and their magical stubbornness, their resistance and their mutability, which cheer our thinking and doing? And besides, how much intention and how much coincidence are the new?

These questions arise again and again and accompany every kind of productive activity, be it artistic creation, engineering engineering or scientific research. In Lev Khesin's painting, the confrontation with these questions comes to the fore. Reflections on the inherent innovation potential of painting are literally reinterpreted in the artistic process developed by Khesin, as well as in the aesthetics and aesthetics of his painting objects.

The basic method with which Khesin works consists in applying coherent layers of the silicone to a picture carrier - usually a wooden or metal plate. Each silicone layer coats the surface of the board like a film. The number of layers of a painting varies from a dozen to a hundred. The artist blends the transparent silicone with various pigments. Each layer can be different from the others in color and degree of transparency. The superimposed layers thereby produce light effects such as shining, mirroring, iridescence and opalescence (e.g., Opho, 2017 or Uktu, 2015).

Translucent image parts on Khesin's painting objects are activated and deactivated by the light. Depending on the viewpoint from which they are viewed, they shine or go out. Sometimes, however, as in the painting Banotop, 2017, these light games deliberately lead astray. The eye, which has already become accustomed to the changeability of the image, is challenged to distinguish between the unlit translucent and actually opaque image parts.

Sensuality of these light-filled, often minimalistic paintings objects shows how strongly the perception of light conditions and movement of the viewer is influenced. This, as well as Khesin's recourse to industrial materials, is reminiscent of the strategies of the California Light and Space Movement - think of Peter Alexander's shimmering cube objects made of polyester resin, Craig Kauffman's relief wall relief sculptures made of translucent acrylic glass or Helen Pashgian's opaline ball sculptures of epoxy resin.

In addition to transparency, the viscosity and plasticity of the silicone are of crucial importance to Khesin's artistic process. From the silicone mass, the artist models both planar layers and sculptural forms that contrast with the background.

In a series of works, the reliefs reproduce anthropogenic structures (eg geometric line and dot patterns in Ollycodd, 2014 and Eteti, 2017). More often, however, Khesin's silicone molds mimic nature's forms. This is particularly characteristic of the works that were created in the years 2011-2015. Both organic and inorganic forms emerge here. These are crystal and acicular patterns (Izz, 2015), honeycomb and cup-like formations (Calacala, 2011) or coral-like, funnel-shaped structures (Ellog, 2015).

On the one hand, Khesin explores the virtually unlimited potential of silicone to be molded. On the other hand, he is interested in the ability of silicon to develop its own dynamics. The artist gives free rein to the movement of the viscous silicone. The movement of the material creates various formations that shape the structure of the object's paintings. The silicone compound throws wrinkles (Xis, 2016), solidifies in tubular effusions (Uic, 2017, Castory, 2015), tears at the edges of the image (Arifor, 2017) or hardens in down-dripping, stalactite-like structures (Nyma, 2017).

The activity and productivity of the material are interwoven with the intentions and actions of the artist. In one image, the forms that the artist actively designed and the structures created by the effect of the silicone coexist. The uniqueness of the subject-object ratio is subverted. Neither the artist subject nor the object of his activity are exclusively active or passive.

This is the key element of the Khesin process. For the dynamic subject-object constellation opens the space for a reciprocal relationship between intention and chance. In this sense, Khesin's method resembles an experimental system in which the recurrent experimental setup (silicone and pigments on a panel) produces new results time and again, precisely because it allows coincidences.

The moment Khesin's artistic process gives its answers to the questions of when and how the new emerges, it also reveals itself as a confrontation with the classical dilemma between action and contemplation. Each painting thus becomes an ever-renewed attempt to find a balance between action and action.