All and Nothing – Adam Veikkanen at CCAS

“Only something so meaningless could mean so many things at once.”

Muniz, Vik “the image within, Reflex, A Vik Muniz Primer,” aperture foundation, 2005, New York, pg.39 ch4.

(referred to by the artist in the statement accompanying the exhibition)

Artists who bemoan the limitations of shoestring budgets or the constraints of family and working life might do well to look to the practice of emerging art hero Adam Veikkanen. Ever-gaining momentum and a champion of the unofficial Canberra Arte Povera tradition Veikkanen is currently presenting a solo exhibition at Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Manuka.

Stationery neatly sums up Veikkanen’s practice to date, revisiting many now infamous works. This includes the must-be-seen-to-be-believed unravelling pencils, the manic biro ink colour fields, and the exquisite crystalline bubble wrap mandala. He makes further investigation into the transformative qualities of sticky tape, and new to his repertoire are Parr-esque typewriter compositions, as well as exercises in determining the expendability of carbon paper and uncovering the hidden grace in Styrofoam.

Viewers new to Veikkanen’s work may initially assume he holds an unusual fetish for office supplies. While there is a certain truth here the broader reality is that he is helplessly obsessed with all objects and materials that are within his reach, the more mundane the better. If anything, Veikkanen has merely taken to stationery as a method of editing to ensure the coherence of the exhibition and to offer the viewer something familiar and recognisible. The connection is not always immediate: visitors taking a cursory glance at the work are often dismissive, misreading the objects’ simplicity. A closer look or repeated view is infinitely more rewarding. Unbelievably meticulous and undeniably obsessive, Veikkanen wears the hours spent making in plain view upon his sleeve.

For the many joyous moments of discovery offered here by the artist, this body of work projects a pathos that has become inseperable from Veikkanen’s practice. Aside from the obvious relationship of these artworks to time, and therefore mortality, Veikkanen masterfully sharpens our focus on materials and objects, reminding us of long-lost fascinations, and bluntly illustrating that we have all forgotten how to see.

Stationery continues at CCAS Manuka until May 2nd

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