A catalogue essay on Belle Bassin‘s work in Ode to Form, an exhibition at West Space, curated by Kelly Fleidner.
Full text on the Ode to Form website: Ode to Formation
Excerpt from About the exhibition:
The exhibition Ode to form took Romantic Conceptualism as it’s departure point, working against the notion of the ‘conceptual’ as a closed system controlled by intellectual heroes, whilst spoiling the sublime of Romanticism itself. Ode to form attempted to explore and encapsulate the tension between the two opposing but prevalent assertions in contemporary art; that a conceptual, cool, depersonalisation is a precondition of an art that makes itself checkable and revisable, whilst celebrating the repositioning of the “artist’s hand” within the conceptual framework of contemporary art itself. Ode to Form light-heartedly acknowledged of the pitfalls of romanticising—in that sense, rendering sublime—that single individuality, the “artist’s soul”, itself, aiming to strip away any pretension that the artist’s soul is a medium of the otherworldly or godly (while allowing a sense of tragicomic mourning for that secularisation to linger on).
Excerpt from my essay:
There is a question though, and this is directly related to considering this man Belle presents us, as to whether the understanding of the self is similar. He embodies an intense sense of self, that much is clear, and in considering these works by Belle I do have a sense of a rejection of any universalising system – both by the subject and author of the works – with instead movement and individuality coming to the fore. Again, in reference to the exhibition’s field of enquiry, we can ask whether this subjectivity has been forged in the intense exploration of the radical individualist spirit we associate with the Romantic movement and philosophy, or one entwined with, and in relation to, a community of others, still engaged with the world(s) of others.