Guest’, White Cube Hoxton Square

Photo – gallery layout: Ben Westoby
Courtesy White Cube, London and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann , Berlin | Dresden

Eberhard Havekost
Gast 2, B10
2010
Oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 51 3/16 in. (200 x 130 cm)
© the artist
Photo: Werner Lieberknecht
Courtesy White Cube, London and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann , Berlin | Dresden


Eberhard Havekost
Gast 4, B10
2010
Oil on canvas (9 canvases)
Polyptych, each: 78 3/4 x 51 3/16 in. (200 x 130 cm)
© the artist
Photo: Werner Lieberknecht
Courtesy White Cube, London and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann , Berlin | Dresden

Having got dates wrong Art Sleuth ended up at the White Cube last Thursday. Knowing there would be free beers without fail it was the obvious decision for a thirsty art lover. 

The Hoxton branch is showing Eberhard Havekost’s new work, a painter that is known for his Doig-like approach to painting. He starts with a photo and deconstructs the image so that it takes on a more compressed, stylistic result. Unlike Peter Doig his paintings tend to be stunted, usually fixed close-ups  – such as on an edge of a building or a skewed image of a wing of an aeroplane. Because of this they have little of the sense of drama that Doig’s paintings have. Instead they concentrate on form and line, using shadow or light to bring out static composition more than movement or atmosphere.

Havakost’s exhibition consists mainly of a series of paintings of a fir tree. ‘Gast’ or Guest considers how you would look at a tree at night, the ‘distortedness’ that comes from night photography – the flash of the camera showing up as red outlines in some of the works – and the idea of haunting and memory. The use of toned down pastel shades, the conversion of object to line and composition are part of his style; these paintings are placid, detail filtered out, like the image has become ‘over-saturated’. 

Similarly other paintings that are exhibited intermittently between the series of the nine ‘Gast’ works are simple, negative spaces. Rainbow colours – almost like ink blotted out in water. Also a wonky view of a corridor, compressed and redefined in oranges and reds. 

Havekost’s work is not the easiest to like – perhaps. With so much of contemporary art being forward-looking in its content, or ‘shouty’, or about the spectacle, his paintings seem a little introspective and a touch banal. They are about form and composition and toned down atmosphere. Yet once you accept this, they begin to work their meditative charm.

(And perhaps because the White Cube has not made its name by exhibitions like this, we entered on the back foot….)

‘Guest’, White Cube Hoxton Square, London
26 March – 1 May 2010

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2 comments

  1. I actually really liked the exhibition. For the gallery, it was so simply done, in direct opposition to the elaborate theatre like atmosphere they created for Candice Breitz (which was, in my opinion, an absolutely incredible show.) It is slightly quiet, I wouldn’t say banal!

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