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LINUS BILL & ADRIEN HORNI

DAS GLIED

JUN 9 – JUN 22, 2018

In a time of previously unforeseen plurality, visibility and
distribution, the value of the image has been elevated in its
usefulness as a tool and simultaneously annihilated by its ease of
multiplication and impossibility of ownership. Linus Bill + Adrien
Horni seize this moment to reestablish the foundations and hierarchy
of the image. Creating individual artworks on a greater than human
scale when most images are imagined and exist only on a screen, the
Swiss artist duo have us reconsider image genesis, its chronology and
geography, followed by its likely conclusion.

The artist’s first collaboration began in the realm of the commercial
arts when Bill and Horni were invited to bring an artistic approach to
enliven an annual report of the Swiss Art Directors Club advertising
awards. Although few jobs appear dryer than this, the artists were
able to reestablish the value system of the competition. They
enigmatically abstracted and degraded award-winning design by
submitting a second volume produced on an everyday Xerox copy machine
that celebrated the work of those that were refused a prize. Visual
noise, impudent blank pages, the deconstruction and free
reconstruction of others’ hard work was a great success and gave the
artists the incentive to further develop this approach.

To create their raw material, they incorporate tools both analogue and
digital – paper, scissors, glue, Xerox, scanner, iPhones, iPad and
powerbooks, consumer printers, architectural printers and hi-end
inkjet alike. Even if beginning on paper, these sketches soon become
jpegs. Ping-ponged between the two collaborators until “it’s either
good, or you’re bored”(1) this repetition is important to the process,
as are the limitations of the basic tools. Even the digital tools are
restricted to the simplest of actions, such as copy / paste /
duplicate / scale, while similarly the format is restricted to
existing standards – A4 for paper or the format / frame of the Apple
iPad.

Eschewing the art world’s conscientious formula for creation /
documentation / distribution, the artists approach their own process
more like mail-order shopping. Flipping the idea of the catalogue on
its head, Bill and Horni put the exhibition catalogue before the
artwork, chronologically at least. The printed catalogue always
precedes the works destined for the walls of the gallery or
institution. The artists state that “The books are like catalogues
from which we choose our next painting.”(2) Like the creation of the
source material and the catalogue before it, the process of choosing /
making a painting requires a formula of action and reaction, each
effort is based upon that preceding it. The artists then expand the
catalogue entry from the thumbnail to grand scale tableau. As if
commissioned by themselves to efficiently reproduce their own piece
the artists optimise their own labour, using professional tools such
as rollers, stencils and silkscreening supplies, with a strict
execution to the plans dictated in the bound copy. Curator Gianni
Jetzer notes, “The fact that the source images were not created to be
blown up [means] the artworks oscillate between the real thing and
representation …resulting in ‘paintings’ of irritating beauty.”(3)

Through the process of reviewing scale and resolution, abstracting
time and re-arranging order, Adrien Horni + Linus Bill employ the
reproduced image and reconfigure and destabilise the values and
schematics of the image. “Usually a book ends something, brings
something to a conclusion. When for us it is just the starting point
and opens up so many possibilities. Our books do not look to the past,
but to the future”(4)

Linus Bill + Adrien Horni, both born 1982 in Switzerland have had
recent solo exhibitions at Galerie Allen, Paris, France; Centre d’Art
PasquArt Bienne, Switzerland; La Salle de Bains, Lyon, France; Ellen
de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Nathalie Karg Gallery,
NY, USA; MJ Gallery Geneva, Switzerland; Istituto Svizzero, Milano,
Italy and the Swiss Institute, New York, USA (with Aubry/Broquard).
They have been included in group shows at Villa Bernasconi,
Grand-Lancy, Switzerland; Helmhaus, Zürich, Switzerland and the
Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland. They were awarded the Swiss Art
Award in 2013 and are included in the public collections of the City
of Bienne ; City of Zürich; Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP)
– DFNAC, France; FRAC Bretagne, France; FRAC Normandie Caen; Museum
Voorlinden, Netherlands as well as many important private
collections.
Linus Bill + Adrien Horni are represented by Galerie Allen, Paris and
Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam.

1-2. Conversation between the artists and Joseph Allen Shea, 2015 3.
Gianni Jetzer, Painting and Jugs catalogue essay, Swiss Institute New
York, 2012 4. in conversation with the artists 4. Conversation between
the artists and Joseph Allen Shea, 2015

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