GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON: “NO CHAOS, DAMN IT!”
STANDARD (OSLO) is pleased to announce its second solo exhibition with gallery artist Gardar Eide Einarsson. Entitled “No Chaos, Damn It!”, the exhibition returns to the motif of the ‘outlaw’ and continues Einarsson’s survey of the ‘tragic ideal of individualism’.
This is the bad dream of modernism, as I say: that however urgent the impulse had been to recast aesthetic practice and move out into uncolonized areas of experience, all that resulted from a century’s activity was a thickening – a stiffening – of the same aesthetic mix.
– T J Clark: A Farwell to Ideas, 1999
What is distinctly ‘American’ is not necessarily the amount or kind of violence that characterizes our history but the mythic significance we have assigned to the kinds of violence we have actually experienced, the forms of symbolic violence we imagine or invent and the political uses to which we put that symbolism.
– Richard Slotkin, from Rhodes, Joel P.: The Voice of Violence, 2001
Gardar Eide Einarsson’s works commonly appear to be as motivated by humanism as they stem from cynicism. On the one hand, Einarsson’s artistic production has predominantly been addressing the utmost basic aspect of human condition: the concept of individual freedom and the various attempts at accomplishing that. On the other hand, these works present us with failed attempts. Even more so, they are mechanically measuring the distance between the ideals imagined and the results of fairly futile attempts. Adding to this cynicism is the very appearance of Einarsson’s works; muted, excerpted and always borne out of the same limited palette. While the viewer may recognize these objects as contingent – capable of conveying meaning – they are rarely apparently readable. The willing restraint of information gives these works the appearance of inept and provisional props – reenacting how things went wrong.
“No Chaos, Damn It!” equally takes an interest in epic and inevitable defeats when driven by the desire for opposition or complete individual freedom. Whereas Einarsson’s previous exhibition, entitled “Population One” (2006), investigated the political paranoia of American right wing movements – the artist shifts focus to the early stage of post-war American avant-garde art. With the ‘outlaw’ as a pivot figure Einarsson addresses overlapping notions of artistic and moral transgression, which in post-war America – with the establishment of a New York school of painting – would have critics such as Harold Rosenberg making the claim that: “The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value — political, aesthetic, moral.” (“American Action Painters”, Artnews, 1952). The five works on display reexamine in different ways the iconography of the infrastructure supporting the mythology of this historical moment, exposing the ghostly persistent imaginary of the avant-garde.
Gardar Eide Einarsson (b. 1976, Oslo) lives and works in New York. His recent solo exhibitions include Frankfurter Kunstverein (2007), Frankfurt am Main and Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2008). Earlier this year his works were also included in the Whitney Biennial, New York. Other recent exhibitions include Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2008); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2007); The Sculpture Center, New York (2007); PS1 MoMA, New York (2006), Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (2006); Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (2006); and Witte de With, Rotterdam (2006).