Adrian Falkner : "Cold Fever", installation views

Adrian Falkner : "Cold Fever"

solo exhibition

May 17 - June 16, 2018

Adrian Falkner knows a lot about the sensations that are created in the body by physical exercise. He did his compulsory military service at eighteen and continued to serve in the army, in accordance with Swiss law, several weeks each year for about ten years. He was also a keen sportsman and in particular loved swimming, which he practises regularly.

Thanks to this sport, he is able to feel the reaction of the various muscles in his body before, during and after exertion, depending on whether they are more or less stressed, in the water or in the open air. He has also been developing this awareness of his body and the trance-like state into which physical exercise can plunge him—releasing the endorphins that make sports an addictive practice—for over twenty-five years with graffiti. Obviously, when we think of “physical exercise” together with “graffiti”, what first comes to mind is the graffiti artist caught red-handed and running away from the police, a guard or the wall’s owner. However, this physical activity specific to graffiti does not so much concern running as the state of trance—again— born from the urgency and stress that the graffiti artist feels when standing in front of the wall or train, with the spray can in hand. For Falkner, this state—which is a combination of adrenalin and other hormones such as endorphins—brings his strokes to life. It is this moment of excitement that he has to find again when in the studio, once in front of the painting, alone without any urgency, in all comfort and on the right side of the law.

He needs this Cold Fever, this state of near-trance to turn the stroke into more than just a stroke, to make the curve more than just a static circle, to make the work more than just a matter of putting empty, lifeless shapes on top of each other—which is something anyone can do. Cold Fever consists in making the strokes the players of the canvas, making them talk to each other so they can pass on emotion to the beholder. Because, in the long run, where does the emotion come from when you contemplate an abstract work of art? A figurative work directly imposes on us the story that it conveys through its characters and the universe of the artist who painted it. Emotion is therefore often created because the story being told is (or is not) embraced, and from the way in which it is represented. An abstract work is interpreted depending on the feelings buried in each person, based on their own history. Here, the emotion arises from the projection of these feelings, and the way in which they are found in the work. However, not everybody can be the creator of a singular abstract universe that will enable the beholders to transpose their own feelings.

That is why Adrian Falkner believes it is important to enter this trance-like state, to seek the cold fever. It is cold because it is achieved in the studio without physical exertion, simply by mentally conditioning himself. It is this Cold Fever that sustains the Swiss artist’s universe today. The idea behind Cold Fever ultimately extends the concept of Thinking Hand, which he revealed at the exhibition of the same name in May 2016. With Thinking Hand, Adrian Falkner turned away from his traditional approach, which consisted in structuring his work around the letters of his graffiti artist pseudonym. With Thinking Hand he let his hand go, abolishing the frontiers to make his work more spontaneous. This nearly automatic, circular style born from the experience accumulated by his body is now extended, and subjected to the stress of cold fever to bring out its full meaning.