From Andrew Frost…
Charles Munka is a citizen of the world. French born, but based in Hong Kong, his work attempts to revive the practice of the derive across a sequence of mixed media works on canvas. As much as the derive is based on the idea of an unplanned journey through an urban landscape, the irony is that very few such journeys are truly unplanned, and certainly not those hands-in-pockets-whistling-as-they-go meanders through the arcades and back alleys of some imaginary metropolis. In the real world, the derive is largely the preserve of the wealthy dilettante or the shiftless art student wanting to give their loafing some art world cred.
Where Munka has a claim to a genuine recuperation of the derive is in the loose association of the journey found in his works, where the process that leads to the completion the piece is as delicate a balance as finding just the right croissant in a Parisian pie shop. Built from materials found in and associated with the artists travels around the world, including cities in America and elsewhere, the canvases are finely balanced between completion and overload. Also note are a collection of smaller scale collages on maps and magazine remnants that demonstrate that no matter how familiar an idea might be, in the right hands something new can come of it.
Until September 12
Mclemoi Gallery, Chippendale
Pic: Charles Munka, Atlas (KS.), 2012. Mixed media on canvas, 140 x 204 cm.