On the occasion of the 2018 Lissone Prize, the Jury formed by Marco Meneguzzo, Demetrio Paparoni and Alberto Zanchetta had awarded the "MAC Prize" to Alexis Harding, an acknowledgment that allowed him to schedule a personal exhibition at the Lissone Museum. The exhibition, which takes place two years later, highlights the artist's density and chromatic intensity. Thanks to a practice of rethinking the limits of painting, the artist redefines the epidermis of painting, which, while losing adhesion with the canvas, acquires greater adherence with reality.
Harding's work is a combination of strategy, control, irrationality and abandonment. Prominent exponent of the so-called "procedural painting", the artist explores and celebrates the intersections between abstraction and representation by subjecting the works to a singular physical tension that harnesses them and stretches them to the breaking point.
On the main floor of the Museum, Harding has created a series of works that reflect a modus pingendi that remains porous and flexible, as if it were still in progress. The paintings selected for his first exhibition in an Italian museum focus (almost obsessively) on the surface and structure of the painting. As the artist wishes to explain: "I want to subject painting to a series of physical-behavioral forces, triggering movements and interruptions that establish a starting point, which is central and fundamental in my work. These paintings are turbulent and delicate, they absorb and allow the world to enter them. For the occasion, I tried to select a corpus of works that draws on a wide range of ideas and images. Although I try to follow and guide these works, they resist my control and in the end they manage to find a different way, their own way: they are paintings that "never end", are always unfinished, continue to exist in the present ".
Alexis Harding works by layering: the priming is obtained with a base layer that mixes oil painting with large quantities of flaxseed oil, a solution that requires long drying periods; then the artist applies a quick-drying industrial paint (in recent years uses a spray paint) that hardens in a few hours. The process allows to obtain a surface as complex as it is intricate, which is then cut, moved and dragged, giving rise to the actual painting. This gestation allows the artist to experience a "palpable sense of discovery", in search of a formal elegance that accords with the clarity and exuberance of the color.
Harding's meta-painting coincides with the metaphor of "rupture" and "destruction". The paintings are marked by a manic slowness, take weeks to stabilize, after which the artist intervenes on the surface with instantaneous and decisive gestures. Even if the actions / decisions are taken in a few seconds, the work continues to evolve over the following months, supporting the landslides caused by the force of gravity (the works exist in the moment, but are also, paradoxically, fixed in time, forever ).
Harding's paintings are abstract only in appearance. Over the years, his work has drawn on very wide and diverse suggestions that involve the natural world and human anatomy. Nonetheless, the images remain ambiguous, leaving the viewer with the task of establishing their identity and deciding their meaning. What is most evident in all his works is the extraordinary energy that is released through painting, an energy that comes from the forces and tensions involved.