Zilverster (Goodwin & Hanenbergh): Amator (Jura Festo)
Amator (Jura Festo) is the third solo exhibition at the gallery by Zilverster (Goodwin & Hanenbergh), comprising a remarkable new suite of complex and layered drawings/engravings. These works are populated by apocalyptic scenes, landscapes, architectures, fountains, art historical references, and words and phrases in Esperanto – a language devised in the late nineteenth century as a ‘universal’ language. The Amator of the exhibition’s title can be translated as both ‘amateur’ and ‘lover’.
Amator (Jura Festo) extends the collaborative duo’s investigation into utopian thought alongside the tedium of labour, exploring actual and fictional histories of corporate life. Playfully disturbing traditional distinctions between high-low artforms, the drawings include snippets of conversation between the two artists and everyday minutiae, pop-cultural and corporate business references. The triptych titled Jura Festo (‘Public Holiday’ in Esperanto) extends these utopian ideas by employing instantly recognisable elements: laboured office-workers’ scribbles, migraine auras and meme culture, mixed with iconography derived from historical lithographs promoting the 19th century Romantic artist John Martin. Martin addressed the ‘visionary’ and the ‘utilitarian’ in his life and art-practice equally and Jura Festo brings together these disparate viewpoints. The split picture plane defies the opposing thoughts around artmaking and the tedium of paid labour, while the three custom-made stained and carved wooden frames are riddled with ‘notations’, amplifying opposing forces within the work itself.
Amator (Jura Festo) also features a limited edition lithograph produced with Sunshine Editions, Sorry I’m Late, which extends these conversations across time in its homage to historical utilitarian advertising tools such as lithographs promoting ‘Travel and Tourism’ from the early 20th century. Like all works by Zilverster, it represents a dialogue between the artists, and between eras and ideas.