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Various & Gould: “Permanently Improvised” Temporarily in San Jose

Posted on March 31, 2016

It’s not a surprise that Various & Gould are mixing and matching bodies and faces in their new show – they’ve been doing it for years on the street.

With heads and limbs and torsos prepared in advance, the German couple are just as surprised as you sometimes to see what bionic fluorescent steampunk-inflected portraits and figures are going to emerge on a street wall overhead or around a corner. The aptly named “Permanently Improvised” show at Anno Domini in San Jose is actually compiled in part from friends and family this time out and since October they have been creating and assembling the pieces.

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

More humorous than hermetic, less dreamlike than Dada, but just as atmospheric as Asimov, these futuristic looking androids are as historical as they are futurist. Gould tells us that it was an unusual 1440 masterpiece by Fra Angelico, the Italian early Renaissance artist, that was quite an inspiration for he and Various while working on the show.

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

“While most parts of the picture do match with your expectations of the early Renaissance, the center part feels like a picture in the picture with very surreal details,” he says of the image he first bought as a postcard during a trip to Florence at the turn of this century. “There are loose hands and a disembodied head next to Jesus! It conveys the impression of a modern piece of art or a comic panel, being absolutely reduced to the most important elements of the story. Actually this also feels very much like a collage to us! Cut-out body parts, simultaneity of various actions and so on …”

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Fra Angelico “Cristo Deriso” C. 1440 – 1441. (photo Wikimedia Commons)

Surreally answering that Angelico call, their piece called “Brutalist Vision” (below) is just one response the duo has crafted during these winter months in their Berlin studio that merges methods of painting, serigraphy and collage. Perhaps because the faces are familiar to the authors, the distance between fantasy and reality is shortened this time in Various & Gould’s panoply of possibilities. But with V& G the poetry is always present, and closeness and farness are simply a matter of stretching and retracting their ever-pliant elastic imaginations.

As a viewer, you’ve been here before. And never before in your entire life.

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Brutalist Vision”. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Brutalist Vision”. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Brutalist Vision”. (photo © Various & Gould)


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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. Process shot of “Sabotage”. (photo © Various & Gould)

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Various & Gould. The hot-off-the-press limited screen-print edition “Sabotage” (2016).(photo © Various & Gould)

 

Various & Gould Permanently Improvised exhibition will open tomorrow at Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose, CA. Click HERE for more details.

 

 

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