Abstract painting is unreal. It does not resemble anything in particular. But it happens the same goes for a slice of the world. And it is such slices – such ”found abstractions” – that Torben Ribe indulges in and stages.
His first solo exhibition Dust, Kiwi, Rucola at IMO is an environment built around a series of fictive wall sections hung directly upon the walls as paintings. The artist puts himself in the place of the creative handyman and bricoleur. His paintings – reminiscent of assemblages – convey homely do-it-yourself activities. They recall attemps at home at decorating and patching-up, attempts at patching-up decorations and decorative attemps at patching-up patch-ups. In the process various fixtures and electrical components have been mounted on the paintings oblivious of their intended purposes and thus serving purely compositional ends. Here you find ventilation shafts without air passage, lamps that are not lit, handles that neither close nor open anything and leads which lead nowhere.
With his news series of works Torben Ribe reconsiders painting as ”a portrait of a situation.” Every work recounts a story of a deadlock, where every solution to an asthetic and pratical problem results in yet a problem, which asks for yet a solution:
One painting is made up of a section of kitchen tiles in various colors which have been painted over with white paint. The paint does not cover neatly, so the colors of the tiles show through as pastels. Another painting consists of a wall decorated in a non-figurative manner, but the wall is damaged by damp. A ventilator has been added, but is askew on the wall though even with the diagonals of the abstract wall painting.
The exhibition is the result of long-time research into how people creatively arrange and express themselves in their home and everyday life. The works spring from meditations on various surface treatments, different color charts, interior design and more.
The exhibition title refers to three colors, i.e. creamy gray, pastel green and dark green. One paint company has named the colors respectively ’dust’, ’kiwi’ and ’rucola’ – another paint company ‘think!’, ‘mineral’ and ‘silk road’. The names are completely different though the colors are not. The discrepancy intrigues Torben Ribe: “It is difficult to invent new colors. Colors are somewhat invariable, but at different times in history they trigger different associations. The names and meanings of colors constantly change depending on the fashion of the moment within art, design and lifestyle. What colors and abstract painting have in common is that they both serve as projection screen for people’s thoughts, feelings, needs and desires. Colors – just like abstract painting – leave room for the spectator.”
Torben Ribe (1978, DK) has a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He has been nominated to the Carnegie Art Award, which can be seen this year at National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, 789 Art Space, Beijing, and Royal College of Art, London. In May he opens his first solo exhibition in Germany at BN 24, Hamburg.