At present time Anika Lori is one of the most treasured young Danish artists. She used to live on the dark side of the moon – but lately she has rotated with the planet and has now turned up on its bright side. In her exhibition La Petite Mort, Anika Lori explores what the dark was hiding in its cracks and crevices. An old friend of Anika’s, the Crying Child, has now been replaced by a number of masks – physical as well as symbolic – which she both mounts and let fall. This is done in her search of the crux – or in the realization of its non-existence.
La Petite Mort is like a diary of images, a playful treasure trove of identities, of feelings and frustrations, of repressions and realizations as well as of vulnerable fascination. Old cut-off hair from Anika’s mom, a dress Anika outgrew, her son’s toys, a lock of hair from her boyfriend and personal secrets conquers the colorful canvases, collages and sculptures with memories, melancholy, longing, sorrow and happiness. Objects, that leave their formal existence and become integrated in a different universe and its galaxies of impressions and expressions of the multiplicity and the meaninglessness of life, for better or worse.
Teletubbies, Persian rugs, voodoo dolls from Haïti, Sun-Ra’s psychedelic record covers and beautiful vintage gay porn magazines are all elements of the repetitive fundamental pattern that Anika weaves together into a scenery of life. Identities and sentiments collide – sometimes in a grave manner, at other times with tongue in cheek and a sparkle in the eye. It is not only honesty that rules. It’s also the decadent joy of playing with the truth, which never seems complete. Where is the line drawn? And can it be drawn at all?
Where in the past, Anika has mainly worked with collages as medium, this new exhibition primarily contains paintings and sculptures. Some works have been worked on for a more than a year – others have been created spontaneously. Some are difficult to decode. Others shout statements in your face. But a recurrent theme connects them all: Identity crisis and the calmness that comes from accepting that it is an inevitable condition of life. And in all cases, it is to be preferred when juxtaposed against one of life’s other inevitable conditions: death.
So with the anxiety of death hot on the heels and the resentment of missing out on anything, La Petite Mort is an homage to life with all it’s directions and detours. In continuation hereof comes the wish of letting the life-affirming mess rule upon the rational order. Explosions of colors and motives interrupt the straight graphic line, as realities of life disturb the pure thoughts of idealism. Many of Anika’s works feel like the annoying pebble in the shoe: It irritates, but at the same time it keeps the body moving.
Anika Lori was born in 1975 and grew up in Aarhus, Denmark. After three years working Danish artist Tal R’s assistant, she had her first solo exhibition at V1 Gallery in 2006. Hereafter she has been the it-girl on group shows and art fairs throughout the world. Her last solo exhibition was at Union Gallery, London, in 2008. La Petite Mort is Anika’s second solo exhibition at V1 Gallery.
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