V/MSP GALLERY is delighted to continue its collaboration with Johan Gelper and present some of his latest work in the exhibition “Motion without Movement”. The show contains sculptures, as well as drawings.
Although on first glance Gelpers’ drawings could be considered as studies to his sculptures, they have to be looked at as independent works. Nonetheless, there are strong correlations between those two bodies of his work, as one finds the same references to dadaism, constructivism and kinetic art in the visual and formal language of the drawings, that are also found in his sculptures. In both Gelper addresses the interaction of figurative and abstract elements, but through his sculptures Gelper also has the possibility to examine the relation between object and space. It is not by coincidence that form, lines and surface, the three major themes of abstract painting, play a major role in his work- in principle, Gelper sees his sculptures as spatial drawings, adaptable to the conditions of the space.
The sculptures are mostly composed of banal materials, found somewhere where they were left unnoticed or thrown away. By including botanical elements such as e.g. branches or roots, he also contemplates on the relationship between nature and culture.
While chance plays an important role in the choice of materials, the process of assembly is the exact opposite. The composition is handled meticulously, found parts are cleaned, processed, brought into the correct form, painted or consciously left in the state they are found in, to create a harmonious ensemble, both in form and color. Often this results in seemingly weightless sculptures, symbolizing the contrast between decay and optimization. Fragile, with subtle lines and biomorphic forms meandering with natural movement to examine the behaviour of an object in space, held together by thin wires or cords. Bows and folds of the more stable materials enhance the feel of a kinetic object. However, in this case, the spectator is the moving object while the sculpture rest fixed in space.
Olaf Pradhan, March 2018