Built around a selection of recent paintings and works on paper, the show focuses on a body of work where seemingly simple but ultimately mysterious narratives, inhabited by straightforwardly depicted yet obscure figures, require pause for thought and reflection.
Inspired by fin de siècle themes, drawing on Art Deco’s motifs, clean, sharp lines and geometric silhouettes and Art Nouveau’s sweeping curves and sense of movement, the works presented are typical of Becker’s refined visual language: precise, elegant, characterised both by a pared-back linearity and a distinctive colour palette carried over from the works on paper to the paintings.
Inhabiting semi-theatrical spaces, the majority of Becker’s images are permeated by a sense of ambiguity that works to disrupt any sense of coherent narrative a first reading may suggest. Boundaries between animate and inanimate are casually blurred; the scenes captured resist being pinned down to any particular time or place. The figures depicted seem equally evasive, refusing to be easily—if at all—categorised under a specific gender or age group. The empty speech bubbles, a device used across many of the works, further accentuate the breaking down of narrative and point to what lies perhaps at the heart of Becker’s practice, the opening up of manifold possibilities rather than any ‘descent into meaning’.
The acts Becker’s protagonists engage in, from the smoking of a cigarette, the playing of an instrument or the reading of a book to partaking in an inaudible conversation, all operate as implicit signifiers of activity, suggesting agency as well as countering the interiority and marking the passing of time. As such, they play an important part in the artist’s crafting of time and space for contemplation, bringing the viewer into the work, inviting us to become active participants.
Paul Becker is an artist and writer. Recent exhibitions include: Last Days of ‘Poison Ring' at Mackintosh Lane, London and Thin Skin curated by Jennifer Higgie at MUMA, Melbourne. Becker's most recent publication How We Made ‘The Kick Inside’ was produced by JOAN Publishing, London, in 2022. In 2020 he was made the Abbey Fellow in Painting at the British School at Rome. Also in 2020 he was granted a Pollock Krasner Foundation Award. He lives and works in London.
The exhibition is on view 24/7 from Saanen train station’s platform and waiting room or by appointment.
For additional information or appointments to visit the show please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saanen Vitrine, Saanen train station, 3792, Switzerland