GOONS!: Antwan Horfee Twists and Transforms Classic Cartoon and B-Movie Aesthetics
"GOONS!" The entrancing, exciting of an emblematic movie trailer voice-over seems to audibly explode as you encounter Antwan Horfee’s new body of work now on view at Ruttkowski;68 in Paris. Titled in bold capital letters like a cartoon word bubble, the show once again reveals the affectionate influence that comics and B-movies play in the Parisian artist's practice.
Consisting of some 15 paintings in various formats as well as a series of drawings on paper, this presentation intrigues both the eye and the mind both in its contextual and technical level. Scenes and figures depicted as wild suggestions allow Horfee's imagery to unspool and develop in the viewer's mind, as the sections and new discoveries are revealed. A combination of wild color palette and composition brandish his unique mark-making and style.
With a focus on creating spaces and transforming the work surface, Horfee boldly conducts his lines and structures to compose crazy dream landscapes without revealing a full narrative Friendly (or unfriendly?) monsters emerge in Fantasia-type sequences in otherworldly scenarios that spring from the innerworld. Like constructing a movie set, the placement of the surface, objects, lights, and colors transform the paintings and drawings into movie screenshots or comic frames. By minimizing and compressing the objects and figures, as well as mixing techniques, further examination beckons into abstraction.
In a significantly different approach for his black gouache and graphite works, the storylines look more literal, but intrigue lingers. Balancing organic forms and robotic, man-made creations, they support the enigmatic intricacy of Horfee's visuals. Again appearing as comic book frames, they range from battle scenes over closeups of mysterious vessels, all the way to more mysterious scenes from newly discovered places, all underscored by the artist's background in graffiti.
An homage to the fantasy films and Japanese animation movies he grew up with, these works are built on a tension between the defined elements in the front and blurred sections in the back, as well as his delightfully unexpecting use of color. Defined figures appear, disintegrate halfway through, but not before the artist lures the viewer into the world of GOONS!. —Sasha Bogojev