STEVEN C. HARVEY

VEHICLES
02/06/2012 - 23/09/2012
Vernissage 01/06/2012 18h00
Share
 

“Those of us who find ourselves linked, as if by an umbilical cord, to Surrealism can take comfort from the endless capacity of the world - in the antics of its dominant creature - to replenish the surrealist imagination. As man goes on his way, inventing and destroying, aspiring and collapsing, he leaves behind him a trail littered with the potential seeds of fresh poetic sparks. From a handful of such seeds arose the kernels of the Vehicles such as: the 20th century aspiration to a science fiction future, the 21st century knowledge of the death of this future, the current erosion of the Enlightenment and the unprecedented moral schizophrenia of 21st century man, a man of good character reliant on the spilling of innocent blood and toxic effluent, haunted by the chiding ghosts of his own cautionary myths.” (Steven C. Harvey)

Vue de l'exposition Steven C. Harvey: Vehicles © Photo : Eric Chenal

Steven C. Harvey designs a dark vision of a science fiction world, not a better tomorrow, rather a dystopic and pessimistic view of a world which has become monstrous and dominated by machines. Fascinated by the futuristic ideas of his youth, fascinated by the design of planes and cars in the 1970s, the artist also speaks of his drawings as a reaction to his frustration about failed implementation in today's world of the promises for the future. Instead, in his eyes the former future which has now come to pass threatens the survival of nature, mankind and humanity in view of the real overwhelming power of technology and the unfettered waste of resources.

Harvey's extremely detailed drawings have a visionary force which is reminiscent of the Carceri (1745) by Giovanni Battista Piranesi and the Caprichos (1799) by Francisco de Goya, whose motto “The dream of reason produces monsters” could have been his watchword. In addition, the drawings are not conceivable without the visual worlds of cinema. The beholder is reminded of visual scenes in films such as Star Wars, Matrix, 2012, Soylent Green or Terminator 3. At the same time, there are irritating quotations from Christian art history. The symbols and promises of salvation in the religions seem like a bait that is laid out in this unholy world, they are an atavistic decor which only serve as an aesthetic camouflage in a world of machines which have become independent. Human beings seem to be merely tolerated, they are no longer the main actor, they are usually regarded as a mass article which deals with the control, maintenance or propulsion of the dinosaur-like vehicles, whereas others devote themselves to consumerism in unthinking blindness and raise their children to take this dehumanized world for granted. Nature only exists to be exploited. Like enormous arks, some machines pick up animals, but these animals do not appear to have been saved from the flood, rather they seem to be on the way to the abattoir. Or, like numerous elephants which are a prime symbol as one of the most threatened wild animals which is also gentle and intelligent, they are miserably hanged and sacrificed for a soulless machinery.

Steven C. Harvey : Where Wing Meets Fuselage, 2011, Courtesy de l'artiste © Photo : Aurélien Mole

Harvey does not see his works as predictions of the future, instead he regards them as images from what the science fiction author J. G. Ballard calls our “inner space”: “Cataloguing the monstrous present, they are reports from the filth-strewn construction site of the new, stalled, Tower of Babel.”

Steven C. Harvey was born in 1967 in Stafford, England. He lives and works in Athens.

Curator
Clément Minighetti

Within the framework of: