Alexander Tovborg´s work creates a panoptic view over actual and virtual spaces. Through split perspectives, multiplications of ideas and obsessive reconstructions, his drawings and sculptures unfold as fragments of storytelling. Minor bits of a grand narrative seem to be simulating the distanced scenarios that linger underneath the works like unfinished thoughts. Filtrated through Tovborg´s subtle mockery, they function as epilogues, or sequels, to stories of iconic importance. A range of epic personas and cultural symbols participate: Priests, giants and pilgrims are set amongst churches, mansions, graveyards and bizarre divinities. Holes and wells appear as apocalyptic allegories; the lone ranger is transformed into a struggling crowd of people. Actions of slippery status are visualized in static glimpses. Tovborg´s hardcore fabulations privilege twisted ceremonial events where human beings encounter agony, fear and religious craving.
Both drawings and objects hint at a possible future emergence while the present seems on the verge of disappearance. The fusion of past and future in the present is a recurrent denominator for both content and style. Anachronisms saturate the materials and their combinatorial clashes. Mahogany laminate is carefully coupled with cheap wood; plastic hole-paper is overdrawn with pen writing; ceramic sculptures are contrasted with their original clay models. Tovborg´s objects bare their bones. The manufacturing processes perform as integral parts of the work. The tensions inherent in the materials are exposed and the functionality disrupted as the sculptural form is investigated. Thus a mini-golf lane is submitted to fantasies of death: closed in on itself as a tomb, its game-function is ironically futile and its ephemeral decay becomes a poetic statement. Likewise, minutiae “sketches” made out of tape investigate space with self-destructive delicacy and beauty. Tovborg pulls out his art historical references without reproducing them as empty vessels. Within his haphazard aesthetics, a distillation of baroque decadence sharpens his framework of illusion and thoughtful voyeurism.
Tovborg´s spaces could be subjective emotions transformed into generalized conditions. Rather than pointing to an individual narrator, the fictional communities or epochs become the main characters. Identification is displaced yet the distance fuels a critical freedom. Tovborg constructs a complex observatory, which casts a mirror image back on itself and complicates perception. The burlesque, melancholic impossibility of each scenario – reminiscent of the absurd pleasure in Beckett´s writings – communicates the flip sides of society.
Stud. Mag. Kunsthistorie, Københavns Universitet
(Ma in Aural and visual culture, Goldsmiths college)