Harvey English


Harvey makes installations, sculptures and media art. By emphasising aesthetics, Harvey creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.

His installations sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By focusing on techniques and materials, he tries to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or just has ended: moments evocative of atmosphere and suspense that are not part of a narrative thread. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.

His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of installation art: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By creating situations and breaking the passivity of the spectator, he wants the viewer to become part of the art as a kind of added component. Art is entertainment: to be able to touch the work, as well as to interact with the work is important.

His works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. By choosing mainly formal solutions, he tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations.

His works are given improper functions: significations are inversed and form and content merge. Shapes are dissociated from their original meaning, by which the system in which they normally function is exposed. Initially unambiguous meanings are shattered and disseminate endlessly. With a subtle minimalistic approach, he considers making art a craft which is executed using clear formal rules and which should always refer to social reality.

His works are based on inspiring situations: visions that reflect a sensation of indisputability and serene contemplation, combined with subtle details of odd or eccentric, humoristic elements. By putting the viewer on the wrong track, he seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.

His works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. Harvey currently lives and works in Austin.