Karel Doing is an experimental filmmaker who has been making films since the late 1980s. His early work was informed by the historical practice and experimentation of Dada filmmaking and he has acknowledged reference to the handmade manipulation of the material surface of film by the post- war American avant-garde. Since 2000, the significant themes in Doing’s work distil Dutch colonial histories through the lens of personal connection, and present the outcome of experiments with the processing and handling the material surface of film. The relationship of landscape, place and family history to the materiality of film is explored.
In this solo exhibition at MMX Gallery a series of works are shown as the result of experiments with film emulsion. Instead of using light to expose the film, a reactive process aided by salt, mud, plants and yeast has been used to produce the images. Pre-conceptual patterns, colours and structures emerge that are subsequently deciphered and edited by the artist in a search for a different relationship with nature. Instead of domination and exploitation a more sensitive approach in dialogue with the endlessly complex micro-world of plants and minerals is sought.
In a series of photographs, moving images, slides, an assemblage and works on paper the results are made real. Coming from the hands of a filmmaker, cinematographic references are omnipresent. The photographs are printed according to the cinemascope ratio (2.35:1), the assemblage makes use of empty 35mm film-cans and one of the works on paper could be the score for an animation film.
The exhibition is full of contradiction; abstraction is the result of a concrete process, rigid organisation produces imaginative stories, loss and disappearance leads to aesthetic variety and almost worthless materials are transformed into valuables. The aesthetics of dirt and decay go hand in hand with vibrant colours and intricately organised compositions.
This exhibition is the first in an ongoing series.