On the Happy Circumstance of Inaccurcies in the System - of which a Cornucopia are available / Dr. Ariane Grigoteit

On the Happy Circumstance of Inaccuracies in the System - of which a Cornucopia are available

Works from the last ten Years in the Oeuvre of DeDe Handon

The scenery looks terrific: a nocturnal forest radiates over five panels under mysterious light. One can almost smell the pine trees, almost feel the light step of the forest trail as the foil mounted on canvas leads into the depths.

The motif appears five times, fives times DeDe Handon has mounted the motif side by side. Between struts and superimposed layers a grey scale dominates that is possibly based on a black and white template, a printed photo-document. Five times together they remind one of spot the difference images. But then the numerous overlapping layers with surprising intersections reveal their common denominator: DeDe Handon’s need to see through.

Transparency with simultaneous barriers, blocking of views and deep insights - a lively dialogue of shining and translucent motifs as a repeating screen of detection - ‘what’ shines ‘how’ through. Layered in each dimension through the series of image panels as breadth and the foil as depth, what we see here is not only the grounding principle of the work but also Handon’s intrinsic demand for the acquisition of knowledge.

The so-called ‘Nachtstück’ (Nocturne) from 2007 belongs to a groups of works that for the artist ‘characterises nature and landscape as a sequence of patterns’. What is here interwoven, overlaid, opaque and transparent appears connected and consecutively opens up ever new insights - also in Handon’s own personal world. Born in New York, she completed her studies in Braunschweig and currently works in Frankfurt am Main. For the series, ‘Wall Photos’, she works on digital photographic sources from her immediate surroundings: plants, architecture, nature, civilisation. Today she feeds the printer with the finest Burda transparent pattern paper she was given years ago and never wanted to throw away. These prints, in their inner expression, also appear alien; a trick that proves to be highly efficient as the too thin paper records displacement irregularities, form and colour show processes of dissolution and disintegration. Applied to the walls, it leads in a new direction as the structure of the wall, its wood chip paper or cracks, causes unexpected layering and embossing. We have the synthesis of painting and photography, of imitation and invention. At such a fracture it is crucial to see the old anew, and especially the ability to see one thing and think of another: the ability to change perspective.

Handon consistently simulates the illusionistic demand of her image production technique, and thereby unites all her experience. She is thus, on the one hand, 100% a painter, however, on the other, she experiments at the same time with the medium of photography for which she uses all available materials and procedures. Processes such as planning, intuition, and controlled chance always come together in new ways, open new perspectives, new insights and views.

An astounding and enjoyable aspect of looking at Handon’s works is that one can watch observant, tentative experimentation. Drawing on inexpensive materials and the apparently irreconcilable, the artist dissects the inner drives of making and thinking with a sensual and artistically trained engagement.

If art is the laboratory of perception, then there are many opportunities to expand its boundaries and leave the domain of secure quality regulation. Handon, who had already integrated this desire into her early works, composes anew, changes and alienates her world of images disassembled into individual parts. The results function like a systematically applied sequence: according to Handon, ‘New images are constantly appearing through shifting the gaze under the influence of external reality. They should provide information about the position and meaning of the viewer, but also about the artistic possibilities that an image potentially contains’. Like a surrealist poet, she lets them disintegrate, melt and reform.

This access also characterises the latest works in the Wiesbaden Kunstverein. Very light and sensitive, as in passing by, the elements of the motif are woven together. The original photographic source moves like a breath over the wall: as a grid, as the guarantor of optical dematerialisation, as barrier, as backing and support furnished with ever new crossing and holding points.

Handon appears here a master of ambivalence and paradoxical effects. It is the old story: the drawing is not the drawn object, the flowering tree not the real experience. Handon plays with the dissolution of boundaries and defamiliarisation as a driving force to directly and experientially explore the boundaries. Here beside-each-other and over-each-other dominate as ordering structures. ‘Ever new worlds of images arise from the layering in inverted outer worlds’, says the artist. ‘The expansion of digital photography gives rise to the question of sustainability. My collages, ‘New World’, are composed of found newspaper photos. Image parts that have no meaning for me are blacked out. A new image history develops that, after decomposition, speaks of a new ordering of the world’. The latest mural in Wiesbaden thus unites stylisation, mirroring, metamorphosis, depth effects and materialistic trompe-l’oeil in an infinite space-time painting.

Handon once said that she sees two worlds when wearing glasses - what a challenge! Spoilt for choice, what is really important has to be chosen from the cornucopia of complex sources and images. She belongs to a generation that carries within it many places, many speeds, tenses - yes, the global, the mega-urban. And she is moulded from the incessant need to see through, to shine through: structures, situations, circumstances and relationships.

Translation: Heather Allen