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Brown, Glenn: Dessins

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Herrera, Arturo: Boy and Dwarf

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Sammlung im Wandel: Die Sammlung Rudolf und Ute Scharpff

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True Stories: A Show Related to an Era – The Eighties

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Zhang Wei (2019)

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Arturo Herrera: Boy and Dwarf
Text Graham Bader


English
Hardcover
23 x 30.5 cm
88 pages
79 color illustrations
978-3-935567-38-1
45.00 Euro


 

A young boy and a dwarf, they give this book its title, but at first glance it is hard to make out anything like them in Arturo Herrera’s collages. Only a closer look will spot some telling details in the work’s rich textures: the bellows of an accordion, a dwarf’s cap. Are these pictures representational or abstract? Arturo Herrera says: “The challenge is, how can an image so recognizable, like a dwarf, have another meaning that I impose to it? Is it possible? Can I make something so clear ambiguous? Can I uproot it?” He can: the ambiguity of his collages slows down the gaze, the figurative and the abstract cease to be simple opposites. And the repeated motif gives the eye free rein to study the method and virtuosity of Herrera’s take on abstraction.


The latest series of 75 large-format collages on paper in Boy and Dwarf are based on two comic figures, an old dwarf and a young boy who plays accordion. The front views come from a children’s coloring book, then Herrera commissioned an illustrator to draw back views of the two figures. They are blown up onto the paper, each forming the last layer of a complex collage of paper scraps, splashes of paint, and newsprint. The original contours merge to such an extent with the background that the figures are barely discernible in the vivid abstraction of the collage surface. The initial impact is a blur, but the eye is quickly able to again make out a boy with large eyes, or a dwarf. The projection game can begin.

 

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In collaboration with Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin,
and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York