Freitag, 12. Dezember 2014

Jörg, bronze, 75x50 cm, Ung.Lovende | Punkt Ø – fylkesgalleri for Østfold. Galleri F15 & Momentum Kunsthall, Moss, NO 

By Helga-Marie Nordby

A death mask is a direct cast of a dead person's face. Georg F. W. Rohlfing's sculpture, Jörg, is a bronze cast of a dead bonsai tree. The bonsai was already 40 years old when the artist received it as a gift from his lover. “You must take good care of this one and cultivate it like your own artistic career.” Bonsai is the art of cultivating miniature potted trees, a more than 2000 year-old art form that arose in China and spread to Japan and further into the world. A bonsai is a living work of art based on a wide-reaching philosophy, focusing on care, precision, discipline, details, innovation and management. With correct and thoughtful care, a bonsai may survive for centuries. The oldest bonsais in the world are said to be more than 4000 years old. Nevertheless, Georg's bonsai tree soon started shedding its leaves. He found an expert who advised him to exchange both the tree's pot and its soil, and also fertilize it well. The tree improved quickly, but still, when the artist returned after some months' travel, it was dead.
Before the photograph, it was not unusual to make casts of the faces of famous people who had passed away. The purpose was most often dual: First, the death mask was a very concrete and personal memory, and secondly, a death mask could be used to make future portraits of the deceased. During the seventeen and eighteen hundreds it was also common to use the masks to conserve the facial features of corpses for identification. The Egyptians produced death masks as early as 2,400 BC, as part their funerary rites and their search for an eternal godlike life for the deceased. The method and title used by Georg immortalizes and personifies the tree. The sculpture becomes a symbol of an event and an allegory of an artistic struggle - it is never completed, but in eternal process.

Av Helga-Marie Nordby

En dødsmaske er en direkte avstøpning av den dødes ansikt. Georg F. W. Rohlfings skulptur, Jörg, er en 1:1 bronseavstøpning av et dødt bonsaitre. Bonsaien var allerede 40 år gammel da kunstneren fikk den i gave av sin kjæreste. ”Denne må du passe godt på og pleie som din egen kunstneriske karriere”. Bonsai er kunsten å dyrke miniatyrtrær i potte og er en over 2000 år gammel kunstform som oppstod i Kina og spredte seg videre til Japan og videre ut i verden. En bonsai er et levende kunstverk basert på en omfattende filosofi med fokus på omsorg, presisjon, disiplin, detaljer, innovasjon og forvaltning. Med riktig og omsorgsfull dyrking kan bonsaien leve i århundrer. De eldste bonsaiene i verden sies å være over 4000 år gamle. Likevel, etter kort tid startet bonsai-treet til Georg å felle blader. Han fikk tak i en ekspert som rådet han til å skifte både potte og jord i tillegg til å gjødsle godt. Treet kom seg raskt, men da kunstneren kom tilbake etter noen måneder på reise var treet likevel dødt.
Før fotografiet var det ikke uvanlig å lage avstøpninger av kjente mennesker som hadde gått bort. Hensikten var som regel todelt: For det første var dødsmasken et svært konkret og personlig minne,  og for det andre kunne en slik dødsmaske bli brukt til å lage fremtidige portretter av den avdøde. På sytten- og attenhundretallet var det også vanlig å bruke maskene for å bevare ansiktstrekkene til lik for identifisering.  Egypterne fremstilte dødsmasker allerede fra 2400 f.Kr som del av begravelsesritualet og søken etter evig guddommelig liv for den avdøde. Metoden og tittelen Georg benytter foreviger og personifiserer treet. Skulpturen blir et symbol på hendelsen og en allegori for et kunstnerskap - det er ikke avsluttet, men en evig prosess.

Ung. Lovende | November 29th - January 25th

Ung.Lovende (Young.Promising) presents recently graduated artists, their artistic practices and thematic investigations. Fourteen graduates from the art academies of Bergen, Oslo and Tromsø, have been invited to exhibit their work. Ung.Lovende gives newcomers to the world of art topicality and opportunities to flourish, and affords the public unique insights into current events on the young art scene.

Seduce us to see

The hunt for the latest and newest drives us. Magic lies in discovering the future. This is as true for art as for fashion, design and technology. In England, the organization New Contemporaries has sought out young artists and allowed them to establish valuable contacts with the art field through annual exhibitions. Punkt Ø - Gallery F 15 has for a number of years systematically trained its search­light on young art. In 1993, the gallery established a project room for the young and innov­ative, and though this arena was closed in 2006, our commitment has remained unchanged.
Ung.Lovende does not bring together a group of young students engaged in »classical« rebellion against the hegemonic truths of art or society. The exhibition includes no crassly provocative or innate­ly controversial works similar to Anna Odell's shocking film, shown in 2009 at Konstfack in Stock­holm and at Gallery F 15 in the same year, which features the artist's staged suicide attempt.
The widespread belief that new generations of artists are associated with radical approaches to art, skews our expectations to an exhibit such as Ung.Lovende. In a review of the Academy's ex­amin­ation exhibition in Oslo, the art magazine Billedkunst recently posed the question, »What happen­ed to the rage and bluster of the last ten-fifteen years? To the dark visions and violent expres­sivity?«.
The dominant tendency among the young artists exhibited seems instead to be a turn toward the poetic and introspective, as the reviewer in Billedkunst also points out.
Ung.Lovende might be experienced as »Nordic«: blond and romantic. In formal terms, several of the works share a spartan elegance and subdued expressiveness. Many of the artists reflect a tend­ency that also came to the fore at last year's main exhibition at the Venice Biennale, which dis­covered and paid tribute to the mystic and occult. In addition, we note an interest in the idea of the artist as a seeker of inspiration, and works that focus on representations of women. Several of the exhibited works investigate space and architecture, in spatially specific art that both attacks and disturbs or, on the contrary, subtly and quietly directs our attention to hidden aspects of spaces and buildings, to the spirit of the place. Personal stories are also represented, as well as per­forma­tive sculptural and multidimensional installations.
An institution of art is characterized by a blend of professional expertise, experience, intuition and taste. We who have selected artists and objects of art, have brought in artists who we sense have established a personal expressive form. Getting to that point is a long process, but as a reviewer of the Academy's examination exhibition in Bergen writes, »... to judge from this year's exhibit, it appears that the school has brought many of its students a good distance along the way.«
Our invitations of artists to Ung-Lovende have been extended with earnestness and humility.
We have looked for »new gold.« The selection of works and artists was made by Anja Bjørshol,
Maria C. Havstam and Dag Sveinar at Punkt Ø. The exhibition was assembled under the curatorship of Anja Bjørshol and Maria C. Havstam.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the artists, the art academies and Sparebankstiftelsen DNB

Maria C. Havstam

Dienstag, 16. September 2014

ICH BIN MIT DIR | I AM WITH YOU, Berlin 2014 (urine, resin, 0.5 liter Coca Cola bottle, gilded wooden chair from Köpenick castle in Berlin, Germany), Knock Knock 2014, Skulpturarena öst, Oslo

The presented art work titled, Ich bin mit dir, allegorises a critical reference to human mankind as the crown of creation. It consists of a 0.5 liter Coca Cola bottle filled with urine casted in resin. The 27x27 cm block of resin is seated on a gilded wooden chair which was part of the original interieur of Köpenick castle in Berlin, Germany.

Ich bin mit dir is an individualized antithetic readymade, plastic - organic, a memorial of a preserved moment and a metaphor in itself. The work refers to the resolution or the "End of Humanism", an expression which was characterized by british former neoliberal philosopher John Nicholas Gray in his book 'Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals'. In his debate Gray questions human mankind as being the crown of creation. Gray defines humanism as a religious ideology and calls it superstition.

"Those who struggle to change the world see themselves as noble, even tragic figures. Yet most of those who work for world betterment are not rebels against the scheme of things. They seek consolation for a truth they are too weak to bear. At bottom, their faith that the world can be transformed by human will is a denial of their own mortality."

John Nicholas Gray, 'Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals'

Mittwoch, 27. November 2013

Friends, Berlin 2003-2012