Hany Armanious's formally diverse work is marked by its perverse conflation of opposing values. The Sydney artist morphs high-minded modernist formalism into hippie neo-paganism, confuses Scandanavian modernism with Arabian bazarr kitsch, and short circuits Bauhaus 'intelligent design' with Raelian 'intelligent design'. Sometimes he seems to make bogus analogies with the seriousness of a conspiracy theorist, other times with prankster humour. However his underlying point is phenomenological, pointing to the turns of mind that generate these errors. His work exploits our tendency to make links between things which resemble one another in form, material, function, and process, on the way providing a corrective to the blunt modernist formalism that informs the work of many of his contemporaries.
Armanious named his show Morphic Resonance after Rupert Sheldrake's whimsical pseudo-scientific new-age theory. Sheldrake coined the term to describe the unseen interconnectedness of things, and his faith in the magical influence they exert upon one another at a distance. In framing Armanious's exhibition, however, these words now suggest what happens when artworks are brought together—the way they resonate with and infect one another as forms and signs; the way their logics echo, mesh with, and complicate one another; the way they make new meanings in new configurations. A joint project with City Gallery Wellington.