SUGAR AND SPITE
It seems a commonplace to think that dreams are private phenomena. Happening while we are asleep, it is rather difficult to describe them to other people. Let alone explain the meaning of dreaming. You cannot point anywhere and say to a child, “Look, that’s a dream”. This vast place is entered every night and taken along every morning in the mind, and it is both an image of possibility and a theater of fiction. Imaginery in dreams is absurd and bizarre from the standpoint of waking life, yet dreams contain memories and unthought connections.
The floating images of Charline Tyberghein’s canvases – shoes, hands, telephones, keys, cigarette butts – seem to habitate the portable world of dreaming. Coming down to us through the skilled hands of the artist under the title of “Sugar and Spite”, the exhibition presents a series of new canvases some of which have been produced while the artist was in residency at L21. The title refers us to two antagonistic elements which even belonging to different semantic categories – one sweet matter, the other being a desire to hurt – exist as qualities of Tyberghein’s images, creating a diverse narrative.
The relationship between the “central” motifs on the canvases and the schemes which frame and structure them is another way to break out the picture plan in order to add perspective and depth, at the same time than allowing the artist to fit two paintings into one. Weaving the tragic and the comic, the images shape the substance and structure of life itself, permeating over our imaginations.
Like dreams, Tyberghein’s paintings are triggers for associative networks (those that belong to the artist and those created by the viewer). Following this line of thought, they can act as “mnemonic devices”. Like my desk at this precise moment is unusually filled with things: random piles of papers, two mugs from last night or yesterday’s morning, post-its, and books, of which I remember where I stuck a particular one I’m revising (Frances Yates’ “Art of Memory”) because I remember it has a coffee stain in the cover. So in this way, the stain is the physical object that contains the memory of place, as in the wavy hand that slips through in “Sugar and Spite”.