A perfectly oval face, with two empty eyes. Eyes that seem to have been cut out from the skin surface with a Stanley knjfe. Whether placed against a background to create a portrait, or repeated to form a group of 13 – yes, a Last Supper –, Thomas Zipp‘s figures are strange, disturbing even.
In the backdrop, the paintings are gridded like pixels and encryption layers of computer coding messages. And in the foreground, without any volume of flesh, these expressionless faces – the mouth is a line, and the nose is represented by two holes. This is the lambda man, the codified human, the one used as the basis for endless statistical grids. This man is not alive, no blood flows through his veins. And he has no eyes. And therefore no gaze.
Some characters have two or three empty pairs of eyes. That makes them even stranger. The viewer looks at the painted character who cannot gaze back. This lack of connection causes discomfort and unease. According to the artist, this series refers to the research work carried out by Karl Theodor Fechner on psychophysiology (1860) where the relationship between physical appearance and mental stimuli on the subject cause behavioural changes, on the patient’s faces. Here, nothing moves. Thomas Zipp froze all the scenes. Only the background vibrates: iridescent, deep materials, and muted, dark tones.
A Painter, illustrator, sculptor, inventor of strange, almost surreal machines, straight out of a timeless anthology of the most unusual creations, Thomas Zipp had made the news in Venice in 2013 with his stunning installation in the Palazzo Rossini of a fictitious clinic entitled “Comparative Investigation about the Disposition of the Width of a Circle”. Some elements of this installation are currently shown in the Connected exhibition at La Centrale for Contemporary Art. He was referring to Charcot‘s research on hysteria at the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris and Bowie‘s song in the album The Man Who Sold The World (1970), which referred to his struggle against drug addiction and the devil’s face! Thomas Zipp was born in Heppenheim (Germany) in 1966, This is his third exhibition at the Albert Baronian Gallery.
Thomas ZippAttempts to quantify sensation
Galerie Albert Baronian
2 rue Isidore Verheyden
Until 16 AprilTuesdays – Saturdays, from 12:00h to 18:00h