GALLERIESNOW | 28 October 2021

Galleriesnow featured The Shadow Hand, László von Dohnányi’s first solo exhibition with ANNKA KULTYS GALLERY.

László von Dohnányi





“Idealists, workers of thought, unite to show how inspiration and genius walk in step with the progress of the machine, of aircraft, of industry, of trade, of the sciences, of electricity.” – Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Annka Kultys Gallery is pleased to present The Shadow Hand, an exhibition by German born London-based artist László von Dohnányi marking his first solo presentation in the UK. Displayed are ten new works in oil that mediates on digital forms translating to traditional media and how technological developments become the animating force of culture. 

Central to László von Dohnányi’s practice is the notion of Remediation, the idea that all new media constantly borrows from and transforms older media. The oil paintings borrow the aestheticism of digital rendering such as photography, printing or 3D printing, to make up dreamscape composed of traditional oil on canvas. Reoccurring themes of networks of monochromatic fauna and snaking wire overwhelming the figures hidden beneath express an uncontrollable environment. Playing with the visual language emerging from digital technologies the paintings present flattened depths, sleek lines, technically representative depictions devoid of realism.

The paintings featured in the exhibition are flat, absent from the texture of built-up paint. Instead, the artist aims to imbed the pigment in the canvas, emulating the effect of printing methods and photography. A Plant With a Flower (2021) depicts a green tinted disembodied arm reaching up from a tangle of grey leaves and wires. The elegant anatomy sits below the shards of grey leaves and wires, giving an illusion of cut and paste collage. A Pile of Metal Sticks (2021) see a yellow face buried in the steely toned leaves and wires cut-outs, occasionally interrupted by blue adaptations of the leaf shape. On top of the scene are darting gestural lines, rapidly executed and overlapping. These disrupting lines on the foreground are a common motif used in von Dohnányi, done by automatic gestural mark making, the artist is mimicking the motion of a inkjet printer.

Von Dohnányi subverts the techniques of oil painting, traditionally realised by building up the background to the foreground of the painting. By doing so, artist mimics the system of newer technology, this time the 3D printer, which carves out the product from foreground to the background. On the surface of the canvas, von Dohnányi realises the front-most shapes first and works backward in the composition. Constructing a challenge for himself, he renders this arrangement without prior planning, creating a collage that cannot be interrupted once a line has been drawn. The result is a fractured illusion of spatial depth.

Colours gradate smoothly to emulate shadow and lend dimensionality to form. In A Purple Flower In a Pile of Wires (2021) fractured pieces of a pink and purple hued sky plays backdrop to a frenzy of chords and foliage. Emerging from the mass is an expressionless head in profile. The anonymous faces in the works were rendered from crash test dummies in the familiar yellow of emoji complexion. The shapes patterned in the composition originated as 3D animated objects, either designed by the artist or downloaded content from virtual warehouse websites designed for the use of 3D printing, computer games and architectural rendering. From these virtual models, the artist distorts and streamlines the forms, translating them to simple paper cut-outs that are traced repetitively over the surface of the canvas. 

The opening quote is taken from the Italian futurist poet and author of the Manifesto of Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Obsessed with the urgency, youthfulness and disruptive nature of speed, the futurists worshiped new technologies. Concerned with motion and transportation, the paintings often sought to depict rapid motion, blurred movement as if captured in a photograph. Where the Italian futurists sought to disrupt the stagnant, in von Dohnanyi’s paintings, the audience witnesses both, the stillness of the digital, the formless of the virtual interrupted with the artists frenzies movements. 

László von Dohnányi was born in Germany in 1990 and lives and works in London. von Dohnányi graduated from RCA in June 2021, and is represented by ANNKA KULTYS GALLERY.

Link to the full announcement →