Gether Contemporary is proud to present Hyperweirdkids' (DE) first solo show with the gallery. Hyperwierdkids is a duo formed by Laura Klünter and Mario Mertgen, who have been working together for the past four years to create a collaborative contemporary visual language that attempts to contextualize historical sign systems in digitized popular culture. Their debut solo show in Denmark, Fading Bliss, presents impressive and unexpected environments that seamlessly blend historical time with the virtual and contemporary realm, asking questions about what will happen when the construct of historical bliss gradually fades. Are we to be left behind as tourists on nostalgic revisits, or is history given a chance to reinvent itself and the way we perceive it?
In a remix of techniques, Hyperweirdkids appropriates and translates forms, styles, and spaces across and beyond time. Through the lens of digital tools, Hyperweirdkids weaves a tapestry of reinterpretations that breathe new life into historical elements - whether canonical motifs like the ancient vase or the idealized male torso - or depiction strategies like baroque or impressionist strokes for depicting fruits - by infusing them with contemporary aesthetics like pixels, graphical forms, naïve strokes, airbrush realisms, and abstract figuration. The young duo’s eclectic and anachronistic painterly approach shows an obvious mastery of depiction techniques and appropriation of iconic styles. This abundance of variety poses the spectator to overcome the basic question of whether the works are skillfully painted and instead points beyond that to the very nature of imagery itself. This approach of juxtaposition bears homage to the postmodern remix culture, akin to the surrealists' collage techniques, where the very construction of the imagery becomes palpably visible, becoming an integral part of the work. Hyperweirdkids further highlight this by introducing various viewpoints and canvas intentionally left blank.
The paintings of Hyperweirdkids unfold as abstract landscapes or tableaus of both de- and regeneration where a profound exploration of both aesthetic and societal phenomena takes center stage. The works delve into the annals of art history, revisiting age-old themes and myths, scrutinizing their relevance in today's context, and re-contextualizing them through the lens of social media and modern society. The incorporation of ancient engravings and masterly works from the Renaissance and Mannerism periods serves as a foundation. And while the various remixes of depiction techniques point to the very constitution of the image, the motifs themselves seem to be in some sort of degenerating crisis - The fading bliss. In one painting, we see how an ancient vase is falling from a table towards physical destruction and in another, how the vase is found in a state of total pixelated vanishing or oblivion. The recurrent motif of the idealized male figure is found in similar fading positions, either pathetically sucking on a horn (as if it was his thumb) or conveying obvious vulnerability by burying his face in his hands. Seen in this light, the iconic idealized male nude almost seems like he has gone back to high school to reexperience the disorientation of puberty. From the chaotic state of the fading bliss, the question arises as to whether the motifs are fading or if they, in the practice of Hyperweirdkids, have been given the chance to rediscover themselves with another emotional, political, and historical complexity.
Staying with the idea of Hyperweirdkids' works portraying “art history” within the chaotic and emotionally teenage realm, lockers, cigarettes, laces, toys, and ashtrays are to be found side by side with more classic symbols grasped from the wide history of allegorical painting; thorns, fruits, keys, jewelry, and spiderwebs. Together these different objects form an intriguing, humorous, and eclectic still-Leben-like environment that seems both urgent and confrontative towards the viewer. Especially in the way the works are to be perceived. The duo describes how they are working with museal- archives and the iconological method “[...] of interpretation that arises from synthesis rather than from analysis”. Meaning that while one might automatically (due to the still very strong influences of iconologists like Irwin Panofsky) want to trace meanings in an allegorical matter by seeing every symbol as a riddle that needs to be solved and paired with one specific textual answer, the
juxtaposition of symbols and signs in Hyperweirdkids’ work challenges the general idea of a correct symbolic translation - losing its autonomy and function as the sole answer. Instead, the paintings evoke a sense of nostalgia while also encapsulating the contemporary symbols that define our world today.
Fading Bliss is truly a visual journey through the reinterpretation of historical elements, offering insights, and invites to contemplation on the intersection of past and present. Or in other words: a playful scavenger hunt with more than one buried treasure.
Hyperwierdkids is a duo formed by Laura Klünter (b. 1999) and Mario Mertgen (b. 1989) who both study at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Hyperweirdkids live and work between Cologne and Düsseldorf. This is the first time their works are shown as a solo presentation in Denmark.