As we look into the vast gold, teal and black mirrored surface of Paul Hosking’s Mimic(Black), we see images of ourselves disappearing into the far distance in a version of reality transformed by child-like symmetrical patterns. As we drawn into this compelling surface, these organic patterns fragment our vision, so that one moment we see both ourselves, and the rooms around and behind us clearly, the next, everything is obscured and tinted, and what we know and think is familiar has been called into question, transformed into a distorted and camouflaged Andy Warhol version of itself. In this simple work is the complexity of the visual, its ability to transform the known and reveal the unknown.
Hosking consequently established a body of work, which combines brilliant material aesthetics with perceptual patterns of psychology. His sculptures and wall objects present on first view fascinating independent forms and at the second view well-known schematics, for instance, the profiles of faces. Hosking develops his language of forms by the repetitive, varying fusion of Identically motives into one great shape. In that way he succeeds to place his works exactly at the cutting point of free form and unconscious recognition in perfect balance; you might call his work psychological formalism. Particularly he is fascinated by established principles of Perceptive Psychology. The term “Apophenia” deduced from the German term “Apophänie”, was introduced originally in the book “Die beginnende Schizophrenie. Versuch einer Gestaltanalyse des Wahns” of psychologist Klaus Conrad, which was Published in 1958. This term indicates a symptom from the initial stage of schizophrenia: the concerned persons start to see patters and messages in their daily environment, which are not visible for healthy probands. Paul Hosking forces similar effects in his work, but they are visible for everyone.
Liam Gillick on Paul Hosking
In 1928 Andre Breton published Nadja, a love story set within the terms of a surrealist mind construction and associative city-orientated micro view. Throughout the text a number of photographs serve to provide the key to the narrative, starting points for disjointed musing and a series of devices that function to move things along. At one point we reach a moment in the text where the following image is described:
“The Cat’s Dream”’ showing the animal in the standing position trying to escape without realising that it is held to the ground by a weight and suspended from a cord which is also the disproportionately enlarged wick of an overturned lamp.’
That it-is-one-thing-while-being-another-and-it-makes-me-nervous-and-aroused-and-full-of-shit-simultaneously quality of classic surrealism has been absorbed many times over by the mainstream culture. However, it is the surrealist discourses retain potential that require constant reassessment. What do we do with the objects whose potential in combination has been suppressed by the received ideas that surround the constant collapse of psychosexuality in contemporary art? How do we reassess the continual accumulation of the interesting things and the routes people trace through their intuitive, inquisitive desire towards new potentialities?
Standing in the elegantly tiled bathroom of someone else’s house. Admiring the ceramic and glaze. Circling lightly on one point while alcohol swims and probes into some remaining clear recess. Wondering what this delicate shift in aural tone might signify. Sensing something about to be ruined and become better-looking at the same time: maybe an idea, maybe an object. This would be a good moment to piss on your lizard skin shoes, if you had any. Leaving the room and heading away from the party. Thinking about someone else’s weird things.
Wandering through a distracted maze of carefully selected and barely repressed references that have been melded into a complex social camouflage; or at least they would appear to be if it were possible to get a clear head and a clarified take on things. Pursuing the same image over and over again, shrinking reference and cropping it tight. Things small and flat and repeated in a literal cut and paste reference. Hotels and taxidermy. The slightly embarrassing realisation that you have just pissed on your shoes is not as bad as someone else pissing on them. Masks, Trophies, food. Black clad non-fashion, coffins and coloured sheets of mirror.
It is arguable that there are moments within the cultural discourse of the recent past that have managed to evade clear-cut reassessment. Arch styling, self-involvement, decoration and the precious object, it is not clear where Paul Hosking sits in relation to these suppressed discussions, but we can certain that his work is caught in a frame of apparently contradictory reference points that ensure that an ongoing frame of nostalgia is continually undermined by something more contemporary. A hanging mirror ball fox. A fox shaped hanging mirror thing. Micro-reflection pulling the form in and out of focus. Nothing and something to do with having a good time, focusing attention in a relativist architecture, laughing at Andre Breton while quietly miming him in others. The whole thing signifies many properties intersecting simultaneously. Some involve elegance. Undercutting the apparent weight of the reference system that accompanies the notion of the corpse. The body de-natured and decorated anew. Nothing real and corporeal here, just a blank. Something bought from a place that supplies the filling for skin. And instead of a furred skin we now have to face Paul Hosking’s visual Kleptomania. An excess of content that has found form. A sequence of forms that allow him to free-up the image as collage. Lizarded and excessive. They are cut with care and define form as a new coating. From a distance they are meaningless as they are close-up. In other words they carry as much significance as the form will allow. The images are drained of significance until they can be read in detailed close up, where they empty out anew. This is ambiguous work that operates within a precise neo-obsessive terms. Art that revels in repeated moments of suspension, literally suspended.
Bijou. France and England again. It sort of means the same thing in both languages, but something more nuanced in each. Stolen and reclaimed. A jewel, small but tasteful. Ironic. We cannot be so sure that we would want to live somewhere bijou. Paul Hosking makes art that flicks between unstable states that can often be described with stolen French. It references moments in art history that need to be reclaimed and offers up a challenge to the middle-ground. While the vernacular of developed commercial architecture has skirted around the politicised potential of minimalism, the undermining of assumptions is proceeding more slowly and more sceptically by propositions such as the work put forward by Hosking. The cute sinister, hanging around and operating as an autonomous reminder of the love of imagery, complicated and reactivated by default.