Gap in the Clouds
In his recent work, Brey continues investigating seemingly oppositional aspects of the human experience––the inherent tensions between binary concepts like life and death, dreams and nightmares, masculinity and femininity, blackness and whiteness, manmade and organic.
The blending of cultural iconographies achieved via a rigorous chromatic, formal, and conceptual engagement is emblematic of Brey’s artistic ethos, aspects which are also omnipresent in Gap in the Clouds.
Gap in the Clouds focuses on the works Brey made during the Covid-19 pandemic when, like most people, he was unable to leave his home and studio. The title refers to the hope one must bring oneself to feel amidst worldwide and personal crises. It is about looking up when everything is dragging you downwards. It is about seeing and remembering blue despite the grey on the horizon.
This ties into the very strong presence of the colour blue in this exhibition. In this period Brey has adopted an almost exclusively blue palette as a way to find connection to the world beyond confinement. He associated blue with the sky and the sea, symbols of unattainable expansiveness and freedom. Blue therefore found its way into Brey’s work, through different materials, ranges, formats and shades. This can be both seen in his works on paper in which
these blue-experimentations originated, installations and in some of the pieces of the
ongoing series Every Life is a Fire. Every Life is a Fire is a series of works in which Brey has transformed non-descript black, archival boxes into compact, unfoldable universes, each of them carrying unique and
specific meditations on life, psychology, spirituality, religion and nature. This multifacetedness is also reflected in the ways in which these works have been presented throughout the years. In 2015 at the M HKA they were displayed in a more performative way, being opened and closed by volunteers, in the 56th Venice Biennale curated by Okwui
Enwensor they were intertwined between themselves in the large vitrines, acquiring a more museal character, and in the Gerhard Marcks Haus (2019) they were both shown to and hidden from the public, emphasising the air of mystery surrounding the works. These three forms of presentation are merged together in Gap in the Clouds, creating a vast landscape of possibility and renewal of both the works themselves and space at large.