In The Chase/Chasse, Gabor Bata explores social alienation — and how it transforms us – through the visual language of cartooning. These works portray figures who have lost their humanity and have devolved into cartoons, where pleas for sincere connection are juxtaposed against grotesque, violent visages. In these compositions, a hypothetical world of all talkers and no listeners is shown. The characters attempt to communicate and connect with one another, but as they mug and scream through a ghoulish, hellish abstract haze, they consistently fail to do so.
However, despite the characters verging on caricature, however, Bata still evokes sincerity through the materiality. The artist embraces the theme of failure in the surfaces he works on. In his Play Dead series, he builds over the ink and graphite illustrations of his characters with thick and crudely applied layers of pastel, burying them, only to scrape the material off the surface and dig the figures back up again. It is a continual process of hiding and freeing, breathing in and breathing out. The scrapes and scratches help form the subjects as much as they conceal them.
The works of The Chase welcome failure as an integral facet to their character, and as the seductive colours and flowing gesso grooves in said-pieces indicate, they are meant to be just as attractive as they are repulsive. These figures are still worth looking at and engaging with, no matter how mutated and reprehensible they may be.
Discover the exhibition catalog here
Special thanks to Béatrice Dubreuil for the visuals.
Opening night November 23, 6-9pm at the Livart.