Lucas Dupuy - Exhibition Text
Originally published to accompany Lucas Dupuy’s ‘Formless Anxiety’ solo exhibition, book launch & ‘UK Connections’ cinema programme at TICK TACK (Antwerp, 8th - 29th April)
April 2023

To accompany the launch of his latest publication, Formless Anxiety, Lucas Dupuy presents his latest suite of paintings, a new series of engraved and printed reliefs, as well as sculptures complete with a complementary audio artwork. The tome itself, produced by the artist’s own publishing house Lichen Books (run in collaboration with All Purpose Studio), comprises half a decade’s worth of artistic expression and investigation. Within, documentation of Dupuy’s previous paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs have entered into an experimental, intuitive and almost automatistic alliance with a xerographic copying machine. The result of repeated scanning, editing, amending, adapting and subsequent re-scanning; five years of endeavour are flattened into a non-linear, non-chronological presentation, devoid of rhyme or reason, but replete with rhythm. An essay by writer and curator Charlie Mills introduces the publication, tackling topics such as landscape, semiotics, surrealist photography, hauntology, electronic music, memory and video games.

Alongside, Dupuy’s artworks are imbued with a subtle sentimentality and energetic anxiety, taking cues from architecture, technological advancement, popular culture, language systems and both the often overlooked beauty and time-honoured tension that arise as man attempts to coexist with nature. Fleeting, fizzing forms appear to race across each expanse of canvas, entering and exiting the picture plane in a heady haze. Evidently abstract, yet rooted in an emotional observation of physical space and an empathetic exploration of our immediate surroundings. These transitory silhouettes are a response to those shadows intercepted by architecture, those reflections altered by over-exposure or those spaces illuminated by a light source ever-slightly refracted. Such ethereal, ephemeral forms recur within the dappled patina of the sculpture’s sandy surface, casting shade across their concave constructions that borrow both from brutalism and the now-obsolete acoustic mirrors that stand along the South and North East coasts of England. Just as those aural antecedents to radar detection, here Dupuy’s latest sound piece is angled towards the resounding sculpture, reflecting every micro-sample of video game soundtrack or field recording. Visual sampling occurs readily too, as the artist’s own drawings and photographs become grooves, gouges and gashes etched into valchromat, forming the grounds for printed collages that further abstract each element from their original intention.

Finally, a supporting cinema programme again exposes Dupuy’s wide-ranging influences and interests, as he curates a collection of moving-image artworks from a selection of UK-based peers. Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby dissect the DC Comics staple Swamp Thing through both a reanimation that exposes the character's contemporary contemplation as a symbol for queered disidentification, and the use of embryonic machine learning technology that merges Swamp Thing, swampland and swamp life into a mass of bodily or biological matter. Andrew Pierre Hart’s hand-held camcorder footage captures the artist in his former music studio, sampling The Matrix’s Morpheus on a now oversized and antiquated home computing system, a time-stamped time capsule of the turn of the millennium. Eastham Rake’s M53 motorway bridge, where Mark Leckey once played as a child and which served as the central setting for the artist’s recent Tate Britain exhibition, becomes an eerie overpass apparition alongside archaeological sites of comparable importance, each LiDAR scanned for spectral prosperity; while Marcus Jefferson’s documentation of daily life details the lived-experience of navigating his North-London neighbourhood as a person of colour, as well as exposing the commodification of inner-city culture for outside consumers. Myriad panoptic depictions of Islamic Paradise Gardens - sourced from video games, textile patterns, aerial photography and architectural renders - are distilled into Alia Hamaoui’s own imagined and idealised three-dimensional garden simulation, flattened as if viewed through the windscreen of a car in part technological, part transcendental journey. Finally, Elliot Fox composes found footage to stage a hypnotic science fiction meets science fact descent into a copper sulphate-stained mine shaft, featuring immersive first-person perspective, a psychedelic subterranean soundscape and Cornish subtitles that simultaneously allude to, and withhold, meaning.