'Pathetic Bubble' Horfée and Russell Maurice

Doomsday - Melbourne
Opening night 16th May,  6-8pm. Continues until 13th June. 195A Brunswick St. Fitzroy Victoria.,

China Heights Gallery - Sydney
Opening night 23rd May, 6-9pm. Continues until 25th May. Level 3, 16-28 Foster st, Surry Hills, Sydney 2010

In an underground cabin of furore and fantasy, meet the idiosyncratic worlds of Horfée and Russell Maurice. Hurtling from the train tracks and boulevards of Paris, Horfée’s metropolis of anthropomorphic creatures and psychiatric machines come face to face with Maurice’s apocalyptic island littered with a melted Oz wizard and bruise-faced moons. As Haruki Murakami wrote: the chaos has changed shape.

The hectic hyperspace of Horfée’s inexorable efforts to push the boundaries of graffiti has, in this exhibition, begun to be distilled. Without releasing the graphic tension of his pictorial stamina, Horfée’s practice mischievously tilts towards the stripped back simplicity of Maurice’s essentialised comic characters. For both artists, though allied to different practices, are indebted to the cartoon and such maestro animators as Winsor McCay and Paul Grimault. Exposed together here, the boiling down of animation is unveiled in their work.

Using cels (transparent sheets) originally employed to split up the production process of hand-drawn animation, Maurice and Horfée revive a historical technique of cartoon creation to seamlessly layer up their compositions. For Maurice, this results in uncanny scenes of abandoned castles interrupted by ambling hobo characters, and obscure scenarios of mystical objects, ‘freed', as James Boaden has said, 'from the shackles of narrative to run amok’.  

Yet metamorphosis is not only a matter of characterization. Just as Horfée moves beyond the boundaries of graf art, Maurice melts the margins of the comic-book frame, turning figures of flat surfaces into solid objects in space. His suggestively “sculptural” approach to the cartoon, that debunks its status as a sub art, resonates with the subversive nature of Horfée’s entire practice – one that encourages you to read between the lines to understand what’s being said in the Pathetic Bubble.

-Sooanne Berner