Even the blue
has its boundaries
How much does a piece of heaven cost? Well, you can have a generous part for € 3800, a smaller one for 320. Though in fact, the sky on the Startgalerie´s walls originates from deep under the earth. From a mine in the Hindu Kush.
Adam de Neige indeed uses nothing but natural ultramarine when he paints our sky in blue. An outrageously expensive pigment. Extracted from Lapis Lazuli, a semiprecious stone. To be dragged the whole, long way from Afghanistan. Not for everybody, is this the blue of the brightest natural radiance. During Renaissance and Middle Ages, the Madonna, too, wouldn´t wear just any kind of blue you´d paint her in.
Stunningly, the Teheran-born (1987) and Vienna-based artist applies this luxury on scrubby concrete. Emphasizing the contrast of the very earthly, rough base and the detailed, delicate way he paints on it (clouds in common oil paint, however). Art history and Present subtly merge in the elitary blue. Triggering thoughts on “Unfair Trade“ and migration. And aren´t walls built from concrete?
In a discrete way as well, De Neige updates custom sea salt dispensers (“I´m only an artist, not an activist“). When stacked tightly, an everyday maritime scene appears on them. A refugee boat on the Mediterranean. (Hey, ultramarine comes from “ultra mare“, across the sea, too!) And when you put on the Virtual-Reality glasses, you can even be in two places at the same time. The border between gallery room and Cyber Space gets blurred.
The dream-like logic linking the reality of the exhibition to the virtual one soon becomes clear. Dead seahorses (the logo on the salt dispensers) suddenly start raining from the sky, a mass grave gets drowned and raised to the skies. The 360° video can also be watched on smartphones (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMlkOTlaOeA). Everywhere. Without a visa. In these chary works of art, there´s so much more than you see at first sight.
– Claudia Aigner / Wiener Zeitung, 15.06.2016
Original article in german: http://www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/kultur/kunst/824914_Kunst.html