Robert Nickas

Excerpts from his catalog essay from his exhibition

The Art of Real

Galerie Pierre Huber

Geneva, Switzerland



The Renaissance artist labored over perspective in order to create an illusion of space within which he could make believable the religious and philosophical ideals of his time; the contemporary artist labors to make art itself believable. Consequently the very means of art have been isolated and exposed, forcing the spectator to perceive himself  in the process of his perception. The spectator is not given symbols, but facts, to make of them what he can. Thus, what was once concealed within art - the technical devices employed by the artist -  is now overtly revealed; and what was once outside - the meaning of its forms - has been turned inside.


-E. C. Goossen

Excerpts from the original

The Art of the Real catalog essay



…An old, oft –repeated joke about sculpture describes it as something you back up into when looking at a painting. With the recent ascendancy of what can be termed object-type painting, that joke can now be inverted, as we now bump into paintings at every turn. Object-type paintings are meant to invade the viewers “space”. The artists in this exhibition present objects which are  neither painting nor sculpture, but hover between the two categories. Peter Hopkins is one of these artists, none of the works he refers to as “paintings” are, in fact, made with paint. He fabricates objects that look like paintings and provoke the normal interpretive discourse of painting. The intention is to frustrate the basis of a particular interpretive theory of art which rests on referential theory of meaning. Peter Hopkins’s “floating structures”, which support flattened optical fields, arose because of the artist’s frustration with specific categories of art production and the interpretive power encompassed by these same categories: the effect is a new type of painting that is categorically incoherent.

Hopkins concentrates on the surface of his objects in order to create a “site” qua Smithson for which the writer E.C. Goossen might have claimed in his groundbreaking 1968 essay for The Art of the Real exhibition: “ instead of perceptual experience being accepted as the means to an end, it has become the end in itself…The spectator is not given symbols but facts, to make of them what he can….{that} lead him to the point where he must evaluate his own peculiar responses”…

Robert Nickas

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