Abe Begalin Solo Show

October 29, 2016

Abe Begalin took possession of half of an art gallery, filling that half with viscerally imposing, even daunting, monuments to an indeterminate scientific future. It is, in his own way, a contribution to science fiction which in itself is a categorization of the fantasizing of science, more or less. And with such fantasizing of science, in general, because it dwells in the imagination, it always has a future pretense. It cannot imagine a scientific reality which is already present or has been, as that disenchants the disbelief of the subject when being confronted with such artwork. Thus, the projectile in science fiction is always towards a possible world where, paradoxically, man is scientifically advanced yet still possesses a limitation to his being which consistently renders these futures as dystopic.

 

Does Begalin paint dystopia in his narratives? It’s confounding to say. No doubt, his landscapes of nearly-vicious monoliths of machine are front and center on an ominous canvas of desolation and barrenness. There is no bright and sunny sky, no foliage, and above all else, barely a speckle of human being. It is simply man and his creations, which are pseudo hybridizations of machine with organism, as these forms are so plastic they cannot possibly be envisioned to be mainly mechanical; it is as if, in this future, mankind conforms his creations towards emulating nature or biology and its latitudinous, which is chiefly a component in an organism’s very nature of adaptation. Nevertheless, why is it the case that man’s creations are suggested to be self-destructive? Are there suggestions of such enfeeblement here, as is the case of many a scientific figmentation? That’s the challenge.

 

For whatever bleakness is apparent, we do not fully sense an embodiment of capsizing, of doom. These are specimens in and of themselves, these massive agglomerations of machines; they do not forebode a dim future per se, but rather may act as a center piece on man’s primary concern –dare I say, his self-deification!In other words, man’s concentration and prioritization on “going big” leaves him to disregard his care of being a custodian for the nature he is born into. His fetish for dominion over the world ironically leaves him with this cataclysmic dichotomy on the canvas.

 

It’s an infatuation with his power to create the world without a meditation on what he ought to be creating. With evermore power comes ever more responsibility: what, pray tell, must he use it for? The erection of pseudo-idols which act as testimonials to his power over nature, yet with no appreciation or gratitude for the larger picture, leads to positively hideous negligence of the womb he gestated in. Begalin’s work is a very eerie portrayal which very much challenges and reduces the conversation to the most essential questions on a meaningful life, i.e. how should a human ought to be?

 

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