adam thompson – shape of higher beings

with the second show of sothu we welcome british-swiss artist adam thompson (b. 1971) with a new series of wall objects. trained as a classical painter the arists sought new ways of expressions in painting without using the traditional set of tools. after experimenting with several raw industrial materials he returnd to the medium of canavas and paired it with coated and lacquered aluminium pieces that evoke forms on the canvas without using acrylic, oil paint or the gesture of brushstrokes. With its clear language thompson’s work reminds us of great minimalists like donald judd and anne truitt, yet they mark a new transformation from painting to wall object.

3 questions to adam thompson

1. what is your biggest question in art?

balance vs. anomaly. searching for one or sometimes both together. consider the work of other artists which resonates most with me to be at the extremes of either one or the other.
in my own practice i lean towards the anomaly. my process of searching is a conscious and subconscious one. very often the oddity of a piece only reveals itself when i'm in a moment of distraction. of course, the sketches i use for developing finished works for an exhibition already contain a certain amount of peculiarity. An uncomfortable feeling, which tells me which forms have the most potential. i try to retain this, but sometimes it may get lost as the materials gain in polish. It's a very thin line, which can tip one way or the other. finding this tipping point, most often in the composition is essential to the nature of my work.

2. which trait first and foremost characterizes you as an artist?

being undogmatic. it's a constant companion, and has grown to be a very important one. i had an immovable and burdensome definition of myself as a painter. to think beyond the margins of canvas, paintbrush and oil paint was inconceivable. eventually, i reached a point where i became quite frustrated in my practice. my output was scattered, with little continuity. my possibilities with painting and of course the boundaries in my head were leading to stagnation. this brought on a conscious decision to break with my self-imposed dogma. as humans we get embedded in patterns of comfort and breaking those is always uncomfortable to a certain degree. change happens hand in hand with discomfort. It was a learning which has stuck with me ever since.

3. if you could encourage half of the world to spend time on/do one thing more, what would that be?
being mindful and following on from that, being mindful of others. something so simple, but apparently also very challenging for humans.