Irfan Hendrian (b. 1987, USA) is one of a crop of artists who, at the heart of our digital and dematerialised era, stand out for their attachment to traditional industrial processes and printed matter. For his exhibition at Aloft at Hermès, entitled “Some Other Matter”, this artist, printmaker and graphic designer embarks upon an exploration of how technological progress has affected our relationship to paper.
Visitors step into a seemingly abandoned building where paper takes on the form of brick and concrete and, in places, rejoins its material of origin, wood. “I want to present paper as a different material: in parts of the industrial process, paper is seen as volumetric, heavy and durable, distorting its assumed characteristics,” explains the artist. “I want to rethink our relation with the material, our everyday interaction with it and its effect on history and nature, imbuing it with new memories, meanings and values.”
Hendrian’s post-industrial installation is an immersive one, populated by machines, abandoned tools and structural elements, all reproduced in paper. The work is in part an homage to the publishing houses of Bandoung, Indonesia, where Hendrian has settled, which perpetuated a long tradition of industrial printing until their closure in recent years.
By mobilising paper as a construction material, Hendrian demonstrates the extent to which it can assume a unique power and solidity that contrasts with its traditional material associations. In doing so, he opens up a multitude of possibilities and new perspectives for the material. Adept in this kind of formal exploration, Hendrian has used the space of Aloft at Hermès to undertake a process that recalls the approach of the Bauhaus, where forms were reduced and simplified to their essence in order to touch the sublime.