Claire Harvey

Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam

September 1, 2010

Claire Harvey
When what was when

4 September – 16 October 2010

Saturday, 4 September, 17:00 – 19:00

Galerie Fons Welters
Bloemstraat 140
1016 lj Amsterdam
(+31) 20 423 30 46
mail [​at​]
Tuesday to Saturday, 13:00 – 18:00

Galerie Fons Welters is proud to present a new solo show by British artist Claire Harvey (1976). In ‘When what was when’ Claire Harvey presents a cinematic black-and-white installation, consisting of her most recent oil paintings on canvas, drawings on transparent foil and glass slides lit by overhead projectors and a series of small objects.

She gets her best ideas in the evening, at about 10 pm, says Claire Harvey. It was probably around this time of day that she conceived the idea for the exhibition ‘When what was when’. Harvey fills the gallery’s space with her figures of varying sizes, familiar strangers, figures we encounter nowhere and everywhere, every day. Different though they may be, each one is in a state of supreme concentration, the moment at which you lose yourself, a state that compels all your attention and will not allow the slightest distraction. ‘When what was when’ refers to the extraordinary moment at which an idea exists only in time; like a time capsule that must explode in space if it is to acquire actual form.

Harvey’s characters lead a mysterious existence: some are fixed on a canvas or transparent foil, while others exist only by virtue of a temporary illusion. Her subtle projections transform the space into a mysterious, playful Wonderland. As a viewer you want to enter this world, your shadow moves among the puzzling figures that casually, silently point the way to look. In the reality created by Harvey, you find yourself constantly wondering what is real and what is illusion: projected images overshoot the frame, they slip away from you if you try to hold on to them. The force of gravity and all other certainties are strangely refuted here, so that the question automatically arises: what would happen if we were to arrange the world differently?

Harvey’s sharp powers of observation originate from the time she was an art student in London, and sketched the people she saw on the public transport system on little glass slides. On her long daily commutes she saw her tiny drawings as a playful way of channeling her curiosity about people in their surroundings. So Harvey sees limitations as providing a context in which her thoughts and creative powers can grow, and she sees doubt and confusion as providing potential and frequently rewarding sources of inspiration. Her desire for ambitious formal solutions, combined with her subtle sense of space, produce a brilliant and surprising result.

Claire Harvey studied at Reading University, Chelsea College of Art in London, and completed a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include ‘Walk on’ in Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander, Santander, Spain; ‘Next to Nothing’, Lombard Freid, New York, US; ‘Easily Removable’, Member’s room, Tate Modern, London; Biennial of Contemporary Art, Le Havre, France; ‘Unisono 18′: Claire Harvey, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Netherlands; Prix de Rome, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; ‘And it looked like this’, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam.