Antwan Horfee Has “Optical Affairs”

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Nino Mier Gallery, Brussels // November 17, 2023 – December 16, 2023

If you followed Horfee through his graffiti career, you knew he was onto something that would be both experimental and progressive in his fine art career. He had this twisted aesthetic that felt like early animation mixed with the bravado of a moniker and the otherworldly-ness of constantly shifting that name that you knew if he was to gain a consistent studio practice, it would be both exciting and truly original. And here we are, another leap in this world of the Parisian artist Antwan Horfee, an abstracted, mind-blowing series of paintings, drawings and video work that, when you squint your eyes, has the remnants of graffiti and urban density but feels entirely new. Optical Affairs, as the show is titled at Nino Mier in Brussels, is the perfect name. 

From the gallery, “The exhibition’s title, Optical Affairs, refers to the work’s concern with experiments in perception, a focus informed by Horfee’s research on visual and ocular distortions. Initially inspired by the psychedelic experiments of 1960s and ‘70s, performed by subcultural psychonauts and in government-funded programs alike, Horfee probed how both psychoactive substances and intense emotions such as fear, dread, and sublimity can influence experiences of the external world.”

And this is an interesting path for the painter. The ideas of memoires and place, of how we think, seems relevant here because there are paintings in the show that have these specks of figuration, these objects that appear to be emerging from a subconscious fog of thought. Seen together, it’s all a cacophony of optical affairs. —Evan Pricco

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