Installation view, Matias Faldbakken, Thingumbob Screens Overlaps, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maag Areal, Zurich, 2016
Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present "Thingumbob Screens Overlaps", an exhibition featuring new works by Matias Faldbakken. Following the show „Shall I Write It“ (2012), this is the second solo exhibition at the gallery dedicated to the Oslo-based artist.
In his works, Matias Faldbakken often uses industrial material or heavy-duty objects, which he partly smashes, smudges, or simply paints, while others are fixed with ratchet straps onto walls or stairs in the exhibition space. Thus, he deforms and partly crushes the objects. Faldbakken uses lockers, dumpsters, and jerrycans or tiles whole rooms to emulate the rough atmosphere of metro stations. In doing so, he is interested in the potential tipping-over moment in which the raw industrial materials are recognized as art. Faldbakken's often half-heartedly made installations partly consist of things lying around. This negates their state of being art and the objects become self-contradicting: Despite the built-in negation his works are presented in art contexts and therefore recognized as art. As a writer, Faldbakken published the "Scandinavian Misanthropy" trilogy, which is preoccupied with similar strategies in a narrative form.
“Thingumbob Screens Overlaps“ leads into a new series of works by Matias Faldbakken. As opposed to his former work, where pictorial and sculptural works have always been separated, they are presented in one object in this exhibition. The overlaps, series of overlapping repeated pictures, are glued on found objects that correspond to Faldbakken's existing imagery: industrial products as well as objects that pick up the coveted retro-style of flea-market furniture. Through the pictures and partly through the use of plaster to create a flatter frontside, the objects become vessels for the pictures, the screens. Furthermore, the pictures keep the different objects together.
The title accommodates this connection: "Thingumbob" refers to something that has lost its particular meaning, or for which one can‘t find a word. Yet Faldbakken's objects get their meaning through two things: Firstly through the art context in which they are presented, and secondly through their function as screens, which carry Faldbakken's overlaps.
The concrete pictures of the overlaps show mash-ups created by Faldbakken. They are made of images taken from the consumer world of the middle of the last century: sports cars and surfers. The shiny surfaces of the water and the car varnish reflect the fact that the pictures are 2D. They could also be imagined as tabs or windows on one screen which overlap each other. Faldbakken's pictures in the series are identical, whereas pictures in technical screens such as computer screens differ.
A screen, by definition, is an item or device that has a surface that protects, covers, or shows something. The screens that occur in our everyday life in computers, smartphones, TVs, or billboards are always flat. In Faldbakken's works, picture and sculptural objects determine each other: The pictures make the objects become screens but they can also be perceived as autonomous sculptures. One could be seen as an excuse for the other.
The impression of a zero-sum game in which one justifies the other and vice versa is amplified through the use of plaster. On the one hand, the plaster is a part of the object; on the other hand, it negates the object in its sheer objectness while giving it a certain function: that of a screen. At the same time, the plaster with its brittle characteristic counteracts the idea of screens and their shiny mirroring surfaces.
Faldbakken uses the elusive combination of picture and sculpture to push his strategy of negation forward. His works evoke the idea that art is always created through its frame or its screen, and one cannot say where the artwork ends and the context starts. In the works of „Thingumbob Screens Overlaps“, Faldbakken reduces these relations to absurdity, and creates artworks with an amazing inherent tension.
Matias Faldbakken was born in 1973 in Hobro, Denmark. He lives and works in Oslo. His work is represented in major museums and private collections worldwide, including Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture, Oslo, Norway; Telenor Art Collection, Oslo, Norway; in der Speyer Family Collection, New York, USA. Recent solo exhibitions include Le Consortium, Dijon, Frankreich (2013); Intervention #21 – Matias Faldbakken, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Niederlande (2012); Portrait Portrait of of a a Generation Generation, kuratiert von Marta Kuzma, WIELS, Centre d'art contemporaine, Brüssel, Belgien (2012); Oslo, Texas, The Power Station, Dallas, Texas, USA (2011); That Death of Which One Does Not Die, Kunsthalle Friedricianum, Kassel, Deutschland (2010).