Takashi Hilferink

Takashi Hilferink
NSCAD University (Halifax, NS)

As an artist working with representation and narrative, my work takes shape serially in much the same way books are broken into chapters, or theatrical productions are marked by acts. Unlike those media, my paintings are not sequentially bound, nor are they durational. My paintings function as waypoints in the experience of memory, as spaces in which viewers can collate their own subjectivities against my own. Seeing where we’ve been, we can discern where we’re going: I am captivated by the precarity, incomprehensibility and available trajectories of contemporary life. The research from which my work proceeds spans lyrical sentimentality and journalistic rigor.

Memory Lain is my way of shaping and sharing memories through the lens of family films captured with outdated media. Poring over old footage and photo albums, I wondered at the sustainability of these visual documents as links to a verifiable past. How are memories guaranteed in fragile, corruptable media, especially given the refresh rate of current technologies? Older media formats such as videotape or 8mm film provide visual vernaculars for era-specific memories. This series is an opportunity for me to express my reverence for the physicality of painting and hardcopy media. The act of painting, like the act of remembering, is a way of participating in a plastic record, available to interpretation and revision. Both painting and remembering insist on the patient correlation of observation and feeling necessary to veracity in representation. The facture of both painters and amateur filmmakers informs the quality and content of narratives rendered from memory. As such I developed palettes and rendering techniques from distortions and decay of the source material, embracing my fractional relationship with memory.

Humane Sacrifice is a series of magical realist paintings which reflect upon the mythologies of individualism and exceptionalism. The economist Guy Standing refers to the current generation of young adults as “The Precariat”; our prospects for long-term employment, financial stability and homeownership are diminishing. This increasingly global reality persists against the meritocratic underpinnings of the American Dream I grew up with. Ethereal figures hold fast within ruined but radiant landscapes, combining familiar elements of the domestic with the disruptive exigencies of disaster zones. While they speak to current economic and ecological realities, they ruminate on the tendencies of these phenomena to repeat themselves.