Tag Archives: Norwegian

Ida Ekblad, Diary of a Madam, Exhibition Kunsthaus Hamburg


Ida Ekblad, Installation view, Diary of a Madam, Kunsthaus Hamburg, 7 Februar – 26. March 2017

The Kunsthaus Hamburg is hosting Ida Ekblad’s first institutional solo-exhibition in Germany. The artist is showing large-format paintings created for the exhibition. New sculptures will be presented in the context of a performance by the singer Nils Bech at the opening reception.

Ida Ekblad’s paintings and sculptures are like vehement acts of liberation. Gestural brushstrokes, dolphins, airbrush technique, aliens, junk, icons of Expressionism, puff effects recalling 3-D prints on sweatshirts of the eighties – Ida Ekblad’s process-oriented art production embodies an anarchic spirit that does not hesitate to appropriate styles, subjects, and materials of western culture that are deemed outdated or tasteless. This non-hierarchical aesthetic approach to the visual repertory of the recent past – often derived from contexts of popular culture and everyday life – may be understood in the sense of an ‘open source’ mentality which is devoid of the intention of consciously seeking to quote or to comment.

Teetering on the edge of good taste, the artist’s works have a strongly affective impact. While, on the one hand, ambivalent materials and aesthetic concepts are obviously being celebrated, on the other hand, a struggle with and between these very materials and concepts also clearly manifests itself. This also applies to Ida Ekblad’s latest large-format paintings, which she has assembled into a wall frieze of 20 meters length at the Kunsthaus Hamburg. Here, pubertal graffiti tags and Murano vases formed by the artist with puff paste are conflated on a two-dimensional surface. Relief-like surface structures as well as Ida Ekblad’s visibly obsessive delight in pure materiality reveal a sculptural spirit that does not call painting itself into question. The artist claims: “Painting to me combines expressions of rhythm, poetry, scent, emotion… It offers ways to articulate the spaces between words, and I cannot be concerned with its death, when working at it makes me feel so alive. Canvas can be attacked, copulated with and played like an instrument. I believe in painting like I believe in music. Gore grind music has been invented and can be reinvented forever, and no two raindrops are alike… no two gobs of paint, etc. etc.“ (Ida Ekblad, Mousse Magazine, Issue 22, 2010)

Ida Ekblad not only often refers to music and poetry, but the latter also concretely play a major role in many of her energetic, rhythmical works. In some of the paintings she has incorporated words or short sentences, while her exhibitions are generally accompanied by entire poems. Among other things, the titles of her works and presentations play with ambiguity: Diary of a Madam, the title of her presentation at the Kunsthaus Hamburg, not only makes reference to a biographical context – which, incidentally, is only pseudo-biographical since the multiply recurring portraits of a small Scandinavian-looking girl only appear to represent the young Ida Ekblad. It also phonetically alludes to ‘madman’ – a further recurring theme in the artist’s work: “Writing poetry becomes part of the struggle to stay sane, or the struggle to stay insane, I forget!”

In cooperation with Ida Ekblad, a performance by the Norwegian singer Nils Bech will take place at the opening reception. The performance will also be presented at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and the ICA Institute for Contemporary Art in London.

Text: Press Release, http://kunsthaushamburg.de//.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Ivar Kvaal, Dvale


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Ivar Kvaal, Dvale, 2016

The series contained within Dvale (hibernation in Norwegian) was created during the lead-up to the opening of the Norwegian hospital Ahus in 2008. Ivar Kvaal has captured the building in a slumbering state, in the weeks and months before it was brought to life. The images in the book encompass a fragile and fleeting stillness, in sharp contrast to the hectic everyday life of hospitals.

In Dvale whitewashed, unornamented rooms are filled with building equipment, stacks of ceiling panels and loose cables. Medical machines stand untouched, still covered by plastic. The geometry of these temporarily misplaced parts serve to create breaks in otherwise linear compositions, inviting sculptural associations that tend towards abstraction. The absence of bodies is striking – Kvaal’s images emphasize the hospital as a technical construct: a mass of individual parts reliant on medical and scientific knowledge.

The book can be placed within the tradition of documentary photography, but avoids dramatic or narrative devices. The hospital is presented as a scenography under development, a backdrop for future events. Dvale can be conceived of as a contemplative space, where the beauty in functional and technical environments can become apparent.

Ivar Kvaal (b.1983) has garnered critical acclaim for his photography in Norway and elsewhere. Images from the Dvale series have been exhibited at numerous institutions and galleries, including The Aperture Foundation in New York, Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland and The Devos Art Museum in Michigan. The series is also featured in Thames and Hudson’s anthology reGeneration2

Source: Torpedo Bookshop
Text: Teknisk Industri, http://www.tekniskindustri.no/store/p33/Ivar.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Artist: Yngve Holen

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Yngve Holen, Extended Operations, 2013, Sensitive to Detergent, Tired, 2011 and Hater Headlight, 2015

Emerging from the 3D-printed rubble of Berlin’s “post-Internet” art scene, the Norwegian artist Yngve Holen is a cold empiricist and a slapstick comedian. With sculptural test-subjects ranging from minor appliances (tea kettles and washing machines) to high-industrial behemoths (commercial airliners and CT scanners), his works map the anatomical features of a new human-machine eco-system.

René Descartes (1596–1650) had a problem with animals. Or, rather, he had an animal problem. In the Meditations, the “father of modern philosophy” used skepticism to arrive at a radical theory of mind-body dualism. Bodies were machines. Minds were souls. But since the theological doctrines of the time stated that humans were the only animal that could have a soul, it was imperative for Descartes to prove that animals did not have minds either. The French philosopher thus responded by cutting animals open in private and writing about it in public. He penned a number of letters and texts that described animals as deceivingly complicated machines. What appeared to us as signs of their consciousness – their human-like qualities, or their screams under the knife of live dissection – were in fact spring-loaded responses to external stimuli. In the 21st century context, Descartes’s “animals are robots” writings have become the most unpopular of his theories. Perhaps it is because society as a whole has grown to have more empathy towards animals. Or perhaps it is because we know more about machines. Cutting something open to check for its soul seems like lunatic behavior now. At the very least, those of us in this century would use an ultrasound machine first.

In 2011, the artist Yngve Holen (1982–) ran over a chicken with a Toyota RAV4 and 3D-printed its remains. Unlike Descartes’s test subjects, Holen’s chicken was already dead, plucked, and de-clawed. Yet, when he crushed it open, a soul appeared:

Initially, I wanted to scan road kill. But it was difficult to find, and you can’t laser-scan fur. So I got the idea that I’d go to the supermarket and buy a chicken, so I could run it over and scan it. The meat we see in stores is almost a type of design object. For example, a chicken at a supermarket is so far from being a chicken. It’s had its feathers taken out. It’s cut into thighs and wings and drumsticks with lasers at some factory. It undergoes all these sculptural changes in order to transform from chicken to “poultry.” It’s a scary industry. If you don’t buy bio, chicken is cheap as hell. For an artist, it’s cheaper than buying clay. Then, when you drive over it and crush those bones – when you turn it into road kill – it’s suddenly this individual thing again. You give the chicken a soul by running it over. And then you extract that soul by scanning it.

With the artist-publication ETOPS, Holen formed an editorial extension to his sculptural practice. Comprised of long-form interviews with specialists from a variety of occupations, the magazine performs verbal dissection on the routines of otherwise opaque industries. It proffers details that simultaneously augment and drain the fear surrounding professions that operate in the intersections of body and machine. Aptly, the first ETOPS investigated the experience of air travel. In addition to an interview with a commercial pilot, the publication featured camera phone pictures of cruising-altitude sunsets and rows filled with cramped legs.

ETOPS is regulation system in aviation that says how many minutes you can fly a twin-engine aircraft without being in a certain radius of an airport. So a plane will be certified for, say, 120 minutes. Or now some are certified for 720 minutes, so you can basically fly wherever you want. But there’s this pilot joke that ETOPS stands for “Engines Turn, or Passengers Swim.” It’s funny. Metaphorically, it’s a question about how long we can stretch an idea before we crash it. How long are you allowed to spin off certain ideas before it doesn’t fly? The materials can only go for a certain amount of time. After that, the idea can go further, but the materials then won’t allow for it. We tend to think that these thresholds don’t exist, because they keep getting pushed further and further. Like, how far can the body swim before it drowns? We want to know that limit.

With ETOPS, Holen turns his line of inquiry away from the insides of machines and towards the invisible limits of how far the body can be stretched into something foreign from itself. For the second edition of ETOPS, designed by Per Törnberg, Holen and his editorial partner Matthew Evans travelled to Los Angeles and Monte Carlo to interview members of the pornography and plastic surgery industries. The resulting collection of anonymous interviews provides a look into two fields of practice that blur the distinctions between the natural and the artificial. By discussing the minutia of these occupations, ETOPS provides a textured account of everyday life in a futuristic present. During a dinner conversation, a pornstar gives advice on what to eat before sex scenes. In another interview, a plastic surgeon discusses how the placement of scars has been effected by trend cycles; The aesthetic has changed through the years. What is good-looking now may not have been 10 years ago.

For his solo exhibition “World of Hope” (2015) at Galerie Neu in Berlin, Holen released the second edition of ETOPS alongside a series of works make from the faces of CT scanners, which the artist dressed in custom-fitted fishnet fabric. Unlike the dissected water vessels of Parasaggital Brain, the sculptures allude to the possibility of seeing inside without incision. They present a technology designed to see through skin that is encased inside a fabric designed to see through clothing. Mounted on the wall as a type of relief, the works masquerade as paintings, winking at the Renaissance ideal that a picture should be a “window” into another world. They allude to the limits of the two-dimensional – the blurry and flattened organs that appear in radiology. Their shape suggests a type of industrially-designed orifice, although it is unsure whether it is designed for entrance or exit.

Source: Kunstkritikk.
Text: Thom Bettridge, 032c.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Artist: Ida Ekblad

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Ida Ekblad, Untitled 2012,  Untitled, 2011 and Installation View, Untitled, 2011

Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad just finished her solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Oslo this week. In the official press release her work  is referred to as being “frequently process oriented and her artistic practice is often described as spontaneous and chance-based.  Items seemingly discarded on scrapheaps as worthless are given new meaning through recycling in a work of art with other qualities and connotations. Her works oscillate between an unrestrained imagination and her familiarity with, and allusions to, an art-historical tradition.”

For this exhibition, Ekblad used the museum as her studio, producing more than 30 works in situ. These new works improvise a performative architecture out of industrial debris, found objects and shopping carts. Reference to John Chamberlain and Anthony Caro can be noted as Ida Ekblad present her version of scrap-hunting sculpture. As the shopping charts where rolled onto canvas and paint, each shopping chart has  its own specific painting which is displayed later as a series of large scale paintings along the walls.

Also exhibited was Ekblad’s paintings of the past five years, in particular, are courageous demonstrations of the relevance and feasibility of an expressive artistic gesture. She works in a variety of media. Painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and poetry, simultaneously and without hierarchical distinction.

Ekblad works in a process-oriented manner, and her approach is often described as spontaneous and fearless. She creates installations, sculptures and collage- and assemblage-like pieces from fragments and objects that she finds along the roadside and at construction sites nearby the places she is working. Things that have apparently lost their value and been thrown away often acquire a new meaning by being re-used in a work of art imbued with other qualities and connotations.

Ida Ekblad (b. Oslo, 1980; lives and works in Oslo) is educated at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, 2007, and at the Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles, USA, 2008. Still an emerging artist, Ekblad has already received international recognition participating in museum exhibitions around the world.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the National Museum in Oslo, Kunstmuseum Luzern and De Vleeshal, Middelburg. It is accompanied by a 160-page catalogue published by Distanz Verlag, Berlin, with poems by Ida Ekblad and contributions by Fanni Fetzer, Andrea Kroksnes, Quinn Latimer, and Barry Schwabsky.

Nasjonalmuseet presents Ida Ekblad’s first extensive museum exhibition. The exhibition continues the museum’s series showcasing younger Norwegian contemporary artists.

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Exhibition: Bjarne Melgaard, A House to Die In, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

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Bjarne Melgaard A House to Die In

Bjarne Melgaard, From the Exhibition, A House to Die In, 2012

A House to Die In, 25 September – 18 November, 2012
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

A House to Die In is New York based Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard’s first solo exhibition in the UK. The Lower and Upper Galleries feature two of his collaborative projects, which investigate the dynamics of creative and collaborative relationships.

The architectural facade in the Lower Gallery realises a key stage in Melgaard’s ongoing collaboration with award-winning architectural firm Snøhetta, who have exchanged architectural drawings, models and documents with the artist since 2011 as they work closely towards the construction of a purpose-built house where Melgaard will live and work. In the exhibition, Melgaard and Snøhetta present a 1:1 facade of the building’s exterior, alongside a wider body of shared research that demonstrates the positive struggle experienced by both parties as they continually challenge the conventions of their respective practices.

The Upper Galleries house an installation of paintings and sculptures that imagine the interior spaces of Melgaard’s proposed residence, alongside bespoke furniture and ephemera from the artist’s studio. Melgaard created the paintings and sculptures in partnership with a group of artists who have no formal art education and little or no connection to the art world (several of whom are in recovery, face mental or emotional challenges, or suffer from schizophrenia). In these works, their layered conversations are made visible as the artists respond to and expand upon his visual lexicon.

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Book: Dag Nordbrenden, Rub With Ashes

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Dag Nordbrenden, Presentation of the book, Rub With Ashes, 2012

Dag Nordbrenden is a Norwegian artist working with photography. His work explores different concepts and genres of the medium. His book Rub with Ashes is a compilation of photographs of recent years, and reflects Nordbrenden’s nomadic lifestyle.

The photographs are rooted in a documentary tradition, and the book combines snapshot observations with more loaded, still life-oriented scenes. A diversity of themes are being played out where motifs are mixed together; landscapes, details of interiors, scenes from after a fire, museums and monuments, and some of his meetings with stray cats in Istanbul. Many images show milieus from different parts of the world, social gatherings and local events, which can be viewed in global perspective.

The book dwells at the individual, more autonomous photograph, and how these images influence each other in combinations. By interweaving the lyrical with the more political, Nordbrenden creates a space where different subject matters start communicating with each other.

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