White Heat

Johan Tahon

sculptures, ceramics

17 May – 15 June 2008

Johan Tahon (1965) was discovered by Jan Hoet in the mid nineties, who showed his work at the SMAK Museum, Gent. WHITE HEAT is the first solo exhibition of Johan Tahon in a Dutch art gallery.
His work focuses on the human figure, often represented as an elongated, fragile form. Until recently Tahon worked only in plaster, which he cut into the desired shape with an axe after the material had set. The process of building up and reworking is highly instinctive and intuitive, expressed in the searching, vulnerable quality of his human figures. Another aspect always felt is a sense of man’s insignificance in relation to the universe, or man’s imperfection in relation to the divine, by which Tahon expresses a basic pursuit of spirituality.

Since 2006 Johan Tahon also works in ceramics, which he covers with white glaze in a free, expressive way. As the sculptures obtain their final shape and colour in the heat of the oven, the exhibition is entitled WHITE HEAT. In the ceramic sculptures, too, he represents man; frequently they are single or doubled heads with slightly Asian features placed against each other, looking at the visitor. The double faces are twins as well as the materialization of an alter ego made visible in the second head. Pièce de résistance of the exhibition is a huge plaster lion with a human face, waiting for the visitor in the front room of the gallery. The sculpture links up with the age-old myth of the sphinx, but also stands for the power capable of consuming man if he does not restrain it.