Salon des Refusés:
Holy Crap (Cut It Out)/Say Hello
to Mr. Painting/Spy Paintings 1-3/Thumb Up-Down/Chosen One/Mesjus/Art
Dump (Monster Artist Rising)/Concept Whore/How Did the Show Go?/Underwater Sculpture/Critic/Suicide
Painter/Happy Amateur/Monument for Praising Oil (rejected)/The House I Will
Buy/Strange Sculpture in the Woods/How I Got the Show/Making Friends with the
Shadow/Migrating Birds/X-Ray of Foot, 2007-8
The series of
paintings Salon des Refusés is made up of pictures
that in different ways takes on problematic tied to the role of the artist, the
artwork and its context. Originally the ‘Salons des Refusés’
were organised as a reaction to the traditionalist selection of the Paris salons. These
exhibitions were made out of all sorts of rejected art, including works that
later have been canonised into art history.
Almost all of the
canvas is cut out in Holy Crap (Cut It Out) (mixed media, 50 x 50 cm) leaving the canvas
stretcher laid bare. The piece goes from picture to
object, from product to remainder. Art might in an extremely critical light be
seen as a form of sanctifying scrap. And that which at first is depreciated can
later turn to gold.
The medium of
painting is said to be unavailable. To overcome this obstacle, the piece Say
Hello to Mr. Painting (mixed media, 150 x 70 cm) gives you an opportunity to practically
shake hands with the painting.
Spy Paintings 1-3
(oil on perforated canvas, 3 á 50 x 40 cm) are portraits that allow for spying
through peeping-holes-as-eyes, like in the old crime fiction movies. The
portrayed is here a mystical dark figure. The element of voyeurism in art
gazing is inversed: Who is looking at whom?
The painting Thumb
Up-Down (oil on canvas, 70 x 90
cm) lets you choose if the thumb shall point upwards or
downwards. Critical art viewing means you should always take a positive or
negative stance towards artworks. You are either in favour of it or you are
against – in this case you have the opportunity to change your mind.
Chosen One (mixed
media, 90 x 70 cm)
is a painting and collage produced by simple means, as a naive icon. A smiling
character raises his hand in a gesture of greeting. Is he chosen or is the
onlooker chosen by him? The idea of a ‘chosen one’ is often accompanied by a
belief in the sacred purity of naivety. Probably this is a self portrait as one
is always the chosen one by one self.
Mesjus (oil on canvas, 100 x 110 cm) follows this theme,
but here the artist is portrayed as a messiah figure. However the picture’s
frame is crocked as a sign of unsound foundations.
Sculpture (oil on canvas, 80 x 60
cm) pays homage to Michael Sailstorfer
who has made a series of sculptures which are to be dumped into the sea. The
picture shows the remains of a mafia style execution (feet into cement).
In Art Dump
(Monster Artist Rising) (oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm) a monster is
ravaging a junkyard of art: The artist is growing out of a depthless gap of art
historical remains. A sign reads “no commercial value”, indicating that the
artist must break out of the commercially exploitable to be able to create art,
thereby turning himself into a useless dreg.
”Concept Store” is
a term used by large labels to front their exclusive shops. In this painting we
see a shed situated in a wasteland area. On a large sign above the entrance the
words “concept store” is replaced by “Concept Whore” (oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm). If we take the term
whore in its popular sense as referring to an exploited and servile person, we
are here talking about conceptual servility. Are we not lending ourselves to
obeying an unknown power of definition by accepting ideas and modes of
behaviour as given?
“How Did the Show
Go?” (oil on canvas, 80 x 60 cm) is asked by a painting
depicting a head on a stake. In this case it looks like the public has been
provoked and has taken it out on the artist. The artist runs an emotional risk
by making his work public, worse the more heartfelt it is meant.
In Critic (oil on
canvas, 80 x 60 cm)
we see a portrayed figure with big ears and sunglasses on a grey face. He might
not see that well, but his hearing seems all the better. This might indicate a
bigger interest in the artworks connections than in the work as such.
Hinting both to the
hard living and forceful nihilistic approach associated with abstract
expressionism in addition to the desperate, spectacular and devastating action
of suicide bombing, Suicide Painter (oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm) attempts to comment on
the turmoil of artistic practice. Entering into an undisclosed war of
interests, the artists’ self-consciousness-combined-self-sacrifice can be seen
as a soft version of the messiah-syndrome death drive. Also taking into account
the shared mission to make ones voice heard in a seemingly deafening cacophony,
the character of the inspired artist and that of the crusading
resistance-fighter bear some resemblances.
Being a Happy
Amateur (oil on canvas, 50 x 50
cm) – painting away without thoughts or concern about
the discourse or ones art-historical heritage – could be a tempting position
was it not for its independence being an illusion. The “free” position of the
naïve is at large a repetition of that which others have prepared the ground
for. Being so, it is still hard to imagine vigorous art was it not for a large
portion of the stubborn self-evidence of the amateur. Simultaneously we cannot
escape a large portion of unconscious dependence, making us all in a sense always happy amateurs.
Oil has become a
scapegoat for all sorts of environmental pollution and socio-political
problems. Our condemnation of oil works as an indulgence for the fact that the
whole industrialised world is relying on it. Another perhaps less self denying
stand would be to pay tribute to the substance, and Monument for Praising Oil
(rejected) (oil on canvas, 60 x 80
cm) depicts a proposed monument for serving such a
purpose, which has been rejected. A symbolic parallel might be seen in the oil
painting’s fall from grace.
The House I Will
Buy (oil on canvas, 46 x 36 cm)
is a simple picture of an artists dream: Success that will allow him to afford
in the Woods (oil on canvas, 36 x 46
cm): That which looked like a strange sculpture in the
woods turned out to be a hideous beast, or not? Sometimes it can be hard to
tell what the artist has attempted to paint!
What kind of coarse
play allows for the artist to exhibit?
How I Got the Show (oil on canvas, 46 x 36 cm) illustrates a
suspicious looking nude scene. The rumours of return service in the art world
flourish, it might seem that artists are the ones who least of all expect a
genuine interest in their work. There are always other reasons, which is to
some extent true, no doubt.
the shadow serves as a symbol of the unknown within you. In Making Friends with
the Shadow (oil on canvas, 50 x 50
cm) the artist and his shadow are getting along,
although it might seem that the shadow is the more enthusiastic of the two.
The other part of
the cut-in-half picture Half Price (from the series Comments?) was made into
Migrating Birds (oil on canvas, 10 x 20 cm). That which could have been a landscape
now only has room for the upper half, this showing the sky and a flock of
How personal can a
story be and still serve as background for an artwork? And what does the
public’s knowledge of the underlying story matter to the reading of the work?
X-Ray of Foot (oil on canvas, 90 x 30 cm) is made from the artist’s remembrance of
a broken leg, but all information that could shed a light on the specificity of
that injury is inaccessible. Should the story be thrown overboard as the
artwork is materialised? In that case we can reiterate Wittgenstein: “And now,
forget all of the above”.