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Sun Gun
1993
Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: Diptych: 247 x 214 cm
Reference: ACF0102
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Sun Gun belongs to a series of pictures in which Halley seems to have submitted his images to a mannerist exaggeration. The simple cell prototypes are multiplied here by the conduits that surround them. The colour is no longer pure, but mixed. The picture itself seems to be the result of the stigmatisation of an earlier one of his. The constant proportions of the earlier canvases are unbalanced and the edges dilate. The confusion between figure and ground is now exacerbated. Nevertheless, he is still using materials such as Day-Glo acrylic paint and applying stucco in what would represent the central motif of the cell. The fuchsia, pink and lime green colours give the picture the look of an industrial manufacture, not far from the characteristic methods of an artist like Andy Warhol, of whom Halley is a declared admirer. In this picture Pop seems to have burst into what appeared to be a Minimalist kingdom. The repetition of the composition thus takes on added significance. If previously every picture by Halley was a fragmentary vision of that great hyperconnected landscape in which the colour variations infused a crucial difference between compositions that were exactly alike and the same size, now the compositions seem to have undergone expressionist deformations of themselves. Paradoxically, the Baroque tendency returns problems of style to the foreground, especially the ones that the compositional rigidity and coldness of execution characteristic of Minimalism and the early years of Halley's career had dismissed. And so the repetition erodes the protagonism of the motif. In its place compositions of colour appear, the product of a mechanical process of combining. The combinations, prepared by a simple computer application, can even take on a playful character. Their perverse proximity to a decorative work exposes the recovery of what modern painting had always tried to avoid. In that way, Sun Gun is a painting that adopts colours which are attractive and kitsch at the same time, as if it were a consumer object. To give just one example, the stucco paint that covers the central rectangle refers, according to the artist's own commandments, to the decoration of the ceilings of many motel rooms. Altogether, the painting seems to be part of an antiessentialist strategy. Its aim would be to promote the primacy of the copy, the imitation, and even the parody of an abstract tradition, no doubt far more austere and solemn than it appears in Sun Gun. Halley paints in the knowledge that the worst that can happen to modern art is for all its metaphorical potential to be taken literally. That is when the picture takes on the appearance of a comic strip, animated by entrances, exits and vibrant colours.

Other artworks in the Collection by the same artist Other artworks in the Collection by the same artist

  • Cell with Conduit / 1988

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