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These cooly calculated and mathematically desgined works stand in the tradition of Constructivism of the first third of the 20th century: Russian artists like Tatlin or Malevitch and movements such as de Stijl and Bauhaus paved the path. However, the other side is immediately evident as well: There is also the irrational and mystic, the „sur-real“ aspect. His paintings, Christopher Sage says, “are in a kind of neurosis…“ An indication are their bright, „electric“ colors, that stand in sharp contrast to apparently deserted, melancholic scenes.

This tension continues in the subject matters and motifs. There is, for instance, a Fortune Teller – what could be farther away from rationality, characterized by the Constructivist pattern, than predicting one’s future through a crystal ball? Accordingly, Christopher Sage lets color splashes fly around the sphere. Or the triangular construction in Penrose: This figure is as precise as it is unreal, it violates several laws of Euclidean geometry and cannot be built. We are familiar with this kind of structures through the picture puzzles of M. C. Escher, yet one of the inventors of this special „impossible figure“ is the mathematician Roger Penrose, whose Tribar Sage quotes.

Or take the prime numbers on which large parts of this work are based; all the paintings’ dimensions are defined by prime numbers. The prime number is perfectly clear, it is a number that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. And yet it is full of mysteries: We are far from knowing their exact quantity, all we know is that the sequence never ends; the most recent result is a number with 22.338.618 decimal places. Also, we do not understand the logic of the placement of prime numbers on the number line. Many think prime numbers are the most beautiful thing math has to offer.

One of the founders of Constructivism was Paul Cézanne who reduced nature to the geometric figures cylinder, sphere and cone; Sage illustrates this in After Cézanne. The Impressionist came to his conclusion after having depicted his motif, the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, over and over again. In the end he was absorbed by this landscape – he disappeared in his motif. The Apprentice depicts the start of the process, when he begins to turn into geometric forms. In other works (The Telekenisist, Ribbon) Sage dissolves heads and abstract forms in swirls of color and brush that stand out effectively against the basic patterns.

Christopher Sage shows us the world as a rational, mathematical construct in which the irrational spreads with quite a stir – just like the pictorial spaces often break and diverse modes of representation collide with each other. To quote Albert Einstein: Mathematical theories about reality are always unsecured – when they are secure, the don’t deal with reality. What counts is intuition.

Works

Biography

1975 born in London, lives and works in Berlin

2008 Postgraduate Diploma Fine Art, University of Reading
1998 BA Hons. Fine Arts, University of Reading
Owen Ridley Drawing Prize

Exhibitions (selection)

S = Solo show

2016 Double Möbius, Larry’s Show, Berlin (S)
You don’t have to have an opinion, just be pretty! Schaufenster, Berlin
2015 Arcadia Unbound, Funkhaus, Berlin, also curator
New Adventures in Vexillologie, Kunstverein Amrum
Moabit Mashup, Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin
Grand Finale, Lady Fitness Contemporary, Berlin
2014 Dutch Courage @ 48 Stunden Neukölln, Berlin, also curator
2013 Behind the bar… creatures, Berlin (S)
Tomorrow is Time for the Future, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Bethanien, Berlin
2012 Death at the Sideshow, REH Kunst, Berlin (S)
Spatiotemporal, Galerie Thomas Crämer, Berlin
AU79, shining dawn, Cube 54, Berlin
2011 We can start a process, Kreuzberg Pavillion Neuköln, Berlin
H.J.K.J.H.G. Skalitzer 140 Temporary, Berlin
2010 Forgeries, The Forgotten Bar Project, Berlin
2009 Jamaica Street Artist & Friends, Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol
Cabinet, Gallery 33, Berlin
Import Export, Weissfaktor : raum fur zeitgenössishe kunst, Berlin (S)
2008 InSpuratIon, University of Reading, Reading
MA & Postgraduate Contemporary Art Show, Atkinson Gallery, Somerset
2005 White on White, Window Licker Gallery, Berlin
Spike Island Open, Spike Island Gallery, Bristol
Emporium Cabaret, Invention Arts, Bath

For further information please see the artist’s website: Christopher Sage