„South of Heaven“
July 27 – September 16, 2007
Press conference: July 26, 11 am
Opening: July 26, 7 pm
“South of Heaven” is the first major solo exhibition by the Norwegian artist Gardar Eide Einarsson, who is based in New York. The title for the exhibition “South of Heaven” is taken from one of his key works, a video piece from 2003. The exhibition occupies the three floors of the Frankfurter Kunstverein and presents a large new body of works together with some older pieces as well as all video works produced by the artist until now.
Wrong behaviours, illegal practices, suspicious objects, and corrupted minds come closer to the viewer in this exhibition. The flags, the painted signs, the icons, the direct intervention in the wall with a black marker, the graffiti, they are all realized in a very depurated and stylish aesthetic language. They share a sober elegance that contributes even more to intrigue the viewer. One cannot help wondering about the origin and the function of this personalized catalogue of images.
Gardar Eide Einarsson uses a great variety of media in his works: painting, prints, photography as well as installation and video. The works of Gardar Eide Einarsson are paradoxical and have a quality of low visual density. That is, in the images and the spatial arrangements, all elements seem like fragments of a bigger reality removed from the world outside and dragged into the image and exhibition space. Using what at first sight looks like a very depurated formalistic language the artist poses to the viewer the question of what he really is looking at. By absorbing and then isolating motifs from the so-called underground music and from literature scenes and then weaving them together with political references, Gardar Eide Einarsson forces us to reflect upon the difference between contemplating an image and using it.
“All images employed by the artist were originally involved in the production of effects of power in one way or another and debate the collapse of the social democratic security”, as critic Jonas Ekeberg attempted to define Gardar Eide Einarsson’s work. Thus Liberty, 2007 depicts a red flag with a half moon, or Untitled (American Flag), 2007, an inkjet print on plywood, shows the American flag ready to be used, ready to add a personalized text. The series of Outlaws logo paintings (2004-2005), displayed on the floor, constitute a strange family album of signs ready to be used by a dubious gang. Their aesthetics convey the spirit of the conservative American south state movement, an interest, which also pops up in Conservative, Traditional, Ultra Traditional, 2005 a photographic work by Gardar Eide Einarsson in which a series of sleeves and bottoms of white-collar politicians appear in the image like a syntax of sartorial conservatism.
Thus “South of Heaven” on one hand is intended to familiarize the viewers with Gardar Eide Einarsson’s very particular and personal way of investigating different media and materials. On the other hand it discovers the way art can serve to emphasize transversal readings, sourced from street culture and politics. In the works of Gardar Eide Einarsson art and reality come into a relation of mutual resonance and exchange rather than of representation. The artworks in this exhibition have been chosen with the intention to present a working methodology as well as to use the exhibition as a framework for the viewer to engage in the tension that exists between the world of images and the world as a place where action can take place, where violence is more than an image.
In Underworld, a novel by the American writer Don DeLillo, one of the characters mentions how, “Lately, geography seems to have gone back on itself and become smaller.” Each of us assimilates only a part of the world that surrounds us, trying to escape from the density of an accelerated multitude of sensations. When withdrawing one only takes in a small portion of what is happening around us and thus almost automatically adapt to move around our individual realities. This is our way of shrinking our geography so that the world takes on a form, which is attainable and manageable. Gardar Eide Einarsson’s exhibition can be seen as a world in which we can move with absolute freedom, conscious that we are in control of the situation and it is not the situation that controls us. This maxim regulates our expectations regarding what surrounds us. Even if the situation can dramatically change once we pass through the exit door…
With kind support from:
OFFICE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART NORWAY
Steinernes Haus am Römerberg
D-60311 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49 (0)69 219 314 0
Fax. +49 (0)69 219 314 11
Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 11.00-19.00