Tom Hackney’s works are directly related to Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the ‘instantaneous state of rest’ but in a style of painting characteristic of the Zürich Concrete artists, not only giving the idea of ‘movement’ a new dimension but also embracing a fruitful reason for the appropriation or reanimation of abstract painting today.
FORMWORK inaugurates a series of two-person exhibitions hosted by dalla Rosa with the aim of creating a dialogue between artists that have not previously worked together but share similar interests and influences. George Charman and Tom Hackney are both based in London and have been exploring the possibilities of concrete while developing other sides of their practices, specifically drawing (Charman) and painting (Hackney). The fascination with materials and processes is a clear trait d’union that runs through their work, together with an interest in perception modelled on grids and repetition.
Corresponding Squares: Painting the Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp, is Tom Hackney’s first solo show in the United States. Hackney is a young British painter who has created geometric abstractions based on the movement of pieces in games of chess. In the case of the present exhibition, they are games played by the celebrated French artist and chess player, Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp once remarked that playing a game of chess was like making a drawing. “The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts,” he explained, “and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem.” In Hackney’s pictures, the beauty in those games is captured and made visible in a single static image. It was Duchamp’s goal to elevate art from a purely visual experience to something more cerebral, an aspiration that Hackney unquestionably accomplishes in these paintings whose beauty is generated entirely by ideas that took place on the 64 squares of a chessboard.