XOOOOX – OK BOY
GIPSSTR. 11 | 10119 BERLIN
Heavy contrasts are predominant in the works of "OK BOY", the most recent body of work by Berlin-based artist XOOOOX. It is comprised of large black and white canvases whose monochromism is at times interrupted by mostly primary colors. Getting closer to the works, one quickly realizes that these contrasts are less subject to a fixed concept, but are developed in an intuitive process. Not only the chiaroscuro of the Black Paintings, but also the violet and yellow colors – characterized by Johannes Itten as a complementary contrast – arise after a long process of layering and overpainting. What all of the works have in common is the act of strongly kinetic painting, be it priming backgrounds, blackening surfaces or quick gestures with the spray can. The technique of this painter, who approaches the canvas without a paintbrush, intuitively spreads the color with his bare hands, is reminiscent of works of abstract expressionism, the likes of Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline who also based the effects of their work in a very strongly physically act of painting.
The Black Paintings draw their strength from the negation of the canvas as a limiting space and deletion the existing through blackening. Simultaneously, they steer the focus to details, a typeface or they create contours as an image in negative. In the history of art the color black often takes on radical positions. From the complete and total reduction of painting (Ad Reinhardt) through to postulating, that this is the most active of all colors (Pierre Soulages) – in focused confrontation with black a powerful aura arises, which is also tangible in the Black Paintings by XOOOOX.
A certain performative character is always inherent in the works by XOOOOX. The practice of constant layering and overpainting implies a temporal level, which is demonstrated par exellence in the work "Langusta": The spray can applies delicate vertical lines, an almost meditative process which comes to an end with the medium's exhaustion. But not only this method of painting, also the choice of the painting materials fits in the context of transience. Combining acrylic, oil and spray lacquer, the artist provokes uncontrollable reactions, in which color layers shine through or burst open as an effect of the liquids' hydrophobia, thus exposing the work's previous conditions. In this context, the expression "OK", which also appears in the works, can be read as a finding of a desired state.