Michael Dean – Qualities of Violence

Michael Dean – Qualities of Violence

Opening: 23 January 6 - 9 pm
de Appel, Prins Hendrikkade 142, Amsterdam

Michael Dean produces sculptures of cast concrete or other industrial materials, which seek to evoke unusual physical reactions in the human body. It is not often that hard cement appears soft and flexible. Dean's sculptural works arise from his own extensive writing. His forms represent words, but in a three-dimensional type face which he developed himself, so that they remain strange and inexplicable for the viewer. His work is accompanied by short, poetical texts. For Dean, language and images go hand in hand.

Also on view is the exhibition The Common Sense by Melanie Gilligan

Michael Dean (1977) produces sculptures and photographs, performances and publications – without exception, works that invoke diverse associations. As one critic wrote, “They evoke torture, salt licks, laughter, charcuterie.” In presentations his sculptures are usually accompanied by texts and images of text, dialogues of unallocated voices, or minimal, repetitious utterances of letters and words. Text and sculpture go hand in hand.

Dean’s works arise from his writing. He gives a physical form to a language which he has himself developed, based on a series of typographic alphabets which he designed himself. The images are therefore cryptic for the viewer – in fact inscrutable and impossible to read – but that is precisely what fascinates Dean: how can you transform spoken or written language into physical objects? How does the viewer interpret (i.e., read) these works, without recognizable letters? Furthermore, How does this experience of the illegible work compare to the artists experience of the world that gave origin to the work?

Michael Dean uses democratic materials. Some years ago Dean discovered the equally democratic and inanimate qualities of language and concrete. Initially he used it primarily to produce heavy, physical casts of typographically folded photographs, but more recently he has been making all sorts of seemingly natural forms, which rather often are reminiscent of body parts: a muscle, a tongue or a limb. In his work he tacks between the abstract and the figurative, between a sometimes legible, sometimes illegible visual language.

Qualities of Violence

In this exhibition Michael Dean moves the visitor or should we say Reader through a series of display consoles in which works appear to both ignore and implicate the reader or should we say viewer. If the works are words, the arrangements could be seen as syntactical, with the objects (including the body of the reader/viewer) becoming properties staged in a physical grammar of sentences and phrases seen and experienced. A physical linguistic space.

Qualities of Violence
See some dictionary definitions of Qualities: 1 the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; 2 a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something; 3 an inherent or distinguishing characteristic; a property.

See some dictionary definitions of Violence: 1 Behaviour or treatment in which physical force is exerted for the purpose of causing damage; 2 Intense force or great power, as in natural phenomena 3 Extreme or powerful emotion or expression 4 Distortion of meaning or intent.

Courtesy Herald St, London, Mendes Wood, São Paulo and Supportico Lopez, Berlin

Publication on sale during exhibition:
NOW LEAVES, Michael Dean
Published by Book Works and Wysing Arts Centre in association with de Appel Arts Centre and Extra City Kunsthal

During the exhibition there is free entrance for fysical challenged people for the space has a lot of objects.

See also