Asgar/Gabriel "Armed with fever and good health" @ Torrance Art Museum

Mar 29, 2014 - May 15, 2014Torrance Art Museum, Torrance

The Austrians are coming to Torrance. We have always been huge fans of the duo, following their careers and watching them as they have explored different mediums and approaches to what we always felt was a love for psychedelia and counter-culture activities. Now, Asgar/Gabriel will open "Armed with Fever and Good Health" at the Torrance Art Museum on March 29, 2014. 

As part of a great essay written for the show by Claire Breukel  . . . 

Asgar/Gabriel are renowned for imagining epic dioramas depicting youthful bacchanals and menacing fantasy-play. Combining the conventional canvas and references to history painting with the language of mass media and advertising, their works are grand narratives of multifarious image-appropriation that simultaneously titillate and unnerve.

Developing their role as provocateurs, Armed With Fever And Good Health, takes us on an exploration in to the techniques and consciously absurdist world of Dadaism. Now, using collage, assemblage, abstraction, Cubism and reductionism in their repertoire of technical references, Asgar/Gabriel create progressively abstract dioramas that emote a sense of seduction and imminent despair in increasingly tactile ways. The dark epic, “we are hungry in fact very hungry,” conflates images of death, Christ’s resurrection and present-day characters on what purposefully appears to be a found sheet of cardboard. “Manet’s Leg” is a montage recreation of The Luncheon On The Grass that dually tells the story of Edouard Manet’s amputation as one’s eye is led to a painting of a leg mimetically placed in separation to the tiered central scene.

Also in this work a man leans on a Penny-farthing bicycle. This poses a new timeframe and context that disjoints the narrative, making the viewer aware that they are looking upon an imagined universe that is an autonomous space. Dada artist Kurt Schwitters describes his view of image-making stating, “The picture is a self-sufficient work of art. It is not connected to anything outside.” Cut canvasses, disjointed shapes and sprawling painting installations increases Asgar/Gabriels’ deviation from linearity, adding to an already sublime expression. Armed with fever and good health, Asgar/Gabriels’ role is now of provocative visual instigators whose universes are both fantastical and anarchic.