Static is defined as without motion; each of these two contradictory terms ceases to exist or be understood without its antithesis. Like its title, Static Motion explores the complex and enigmatic nature of art-making through the examination of two artists whose works are created by very disparate processes.
While Papadimas’ sculptures and Nguyen’s paintings remain visually distinct, they share a common disposition towards repetition, geometrical precision and meticulous computation. Papadimas’ sculptures consist of geometrical shapes and angles; Nguyen’s paintings are filled with obsessive, sharp horizontal lines.
Papadimas’ matte black steel sculptures rise like cool hardened rocks and twisted sheets of metal paper. These solid structures transform, move and evolve as the viewer maneuvers around them. Heavily influenced by mathematical algorithms, Papadimas uses numbers as a vehicle to derive his final product. This particular group of works focuses on the oppositional nature of the numbers 0-9, the series of ten numbers from which all other numbers are derived. He pairs these ten numbers systematically: 0/9, 1/8, 2/7, 3/6 and 4/5, with 0/9 being the special pair in which nothing and everything is represented. Similar to the complementary and contradictory nature of the Taoist elements of Yin and Yang, his sculptures represent the harmony between pairs and the natural order of things as derived by numbers. As his sculptures allude to an order that goes beyond societal and cultural appropriations, Papadimas removes humanistic interpretation with their implied universalism.
Nguyen’s paintings are methodically comprised of strips of newspapers and magazines affixed to canvas. The precision of his extraction and placement of these meticulously iterated newspaper strips results in final compositions that are almost monochromatic. While his paintings initially appear identical to one another, further examination affirms the uniqueness of each work. Each contains different references to contemporary civilization found in newspapers, magazines and advertisements. While Papadimas deliberately avoids cultural or societal associations through his mathematical constructions, Nguyen’s compositions engage directly with Vietnamese society, politics and culture through its inclusion of headlines, words and scraps of images from print media. His incorporation of real-life publications into a rigid linear format attempts to organize and create balance in the chaotic, constant media feed of modern day society.
Papadimas’ sculptures and Nguyen’s paintings are conceptually contradictory, yet dependent. Without the cultural specificity in Nguyen’s work, there would be no concept of natural universalism imbued in Papadimas’ sculptures. Though drawing upon different sources for creation, both artists are ultimately concerned with creating an order that is visually balanced.