ROOM 482

In his installation of ink and silverpoint drawings, Heskes invokes symbols, compositions, and characters seemingly invested in medieval or renaissance visual languages of the occult. Heskes’s work investigates structures of messaging, ways in which symbols transmit the very idea of having a message. Signifiers of mystery, of darkness, lead to more signifiers of the same, locked in a loop of speculation as an aesthetic language, making postulation a formal characteristic.

The works in Sterling Coins Mixed With the Counterfeit include representations of mysterious passages, skulls, coffins in tarot-like compositions begging to be interpreted, translated, figured out. The drawings act like a jumbled sentence, laid out in one continuous line circling the exhibition space. Forced into a narrative form, symbols reference and contradict each other. Their speculatory content creates a loop of signifiers; one dark passage leading to a dark door, leading to another passage, and so on.

These empty fragments of a message echo within this closed circuit; deconstructing meaning into a bundle of speculations. Heskes’s works purposefully conflate content with context, pointing to ways in which we recognize the visual instruction of form. The drawings describe vague scenes reminiscent of foggy Memento Moris, too ambiguous to relay anything concrete and yet suggestive enough to read multiple meanings into. As we navigate our media-frenzied world, Heskes’s works seem to connect the old an the new into a particular avenue; one which points to the structure of the conspiracy theory. What makes one follow signifiers of doom through the internet to reach far-fetched conclusions of grandiose proportion? What is the chain of information that locks one in a closed-off loop, as Heskes’s drawings are, that leads to an answer that is just as mystifying as the clues themselves? The works in Sterling Coins Mixed With the Counterfeit exemplify just that—a self—reliant circle of grim messages that insist on bearing the promise of a grand secret, their cultural obsolescence being the only reason we’re acutely aware of their theatrics.

1 Tzara, Tristan (27). Approximate Man and Other Writings. Black Widow Press, 2005. Print.

Bat-Ami Rivlin, Curator

Sterling Coins Mixed With the Counterfeit

Nicholas Heskes

11.13.21 — 01.09.22