Gardar Eide Einarssons iconic black and white art works seems almost empty of art skill, empty of expression, but they are nonetheless disturbing codes of a violent society of paranoia.
Black and white street combs are dividing and staging the room, a grey-toned photo of a mailbox in the corridor, a painting of a policeman with his baton, neon light, graffiti art and reflecting mirrors ‚Äì the exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art resembles the rough urban outer space of a city.
The Norwegian artist Gardar Eide Einarsson based in New York, Tokyo and Oslo works within the field of rebellion and authority. He is inspired by street art, punk music, administration signs, and uses corporate logos and texts, ready ‚Äìmades, in order to articulate and deconstruct power structures of our late modern society‚Äôs advertising and mass media.
His black, white and grey scaled paintings, photos and sculptures draw references to minimalism and pop art from the 60‚Äôs. And in spite of his young age he has already made a deep impact on the international art scene.
Closed and hermetic art
In front of a Gardar Eide Einarsson piece, e.g. the policeman holding up his baton in black paint on a wood canvas just placed there on the floor, you feel intimated maybe fearful, but also as if the piece is closed and hermetic, practically not communicating.
This is because the artwork shows no sign of the personality of the artist and shows no signs of craftsman or artistic skill. The image resembles well-known imagery from cartoons or other items from popular cultures, and could be produced by a machine or a template of some sort.
It is as if, which is the case with all the other works at the exhibition, the sense of the piece is brutally imploding into a black nothingness. But this is also why this piece and the exhibition as a whole have such a strong impression on the viewer. This exhibition works on a physical, as well as, an intellectual level most of all because of the hanging: staging the rooms as a city of no sense, on which streets the viewer must take her/his anxious steps.
But even though the sense of the pieces on the exhibition seems absolutely bleak, there is ambivalently and furthermore a deep connotation of showing how communication works, naturally since the pieces are inspired of the very signs from our society. The exhibition cunningly de-flowers how the signs of our western culture, signs of authority, signs of identity, signs form the medias work.
And Gardar Eide Einarssons pieces work on a double level. The painting of the policeman is at one point frightening, but is at the same time the sign of strong police enforcement ready to protect you. In this manner, the work seems ironic, clever and maybe de-masking the viewers own hypocrisy.
At Power has a Fragrance the disturbing scenery of a society of paranoia is skillfully performed by inspiration of it‚Äôs own signs and aesthetics, with a power and embodiment, which is almost sensual or even masculine erotic.
This exhibition will later travel to Reykjavik Kunstmuseum, Iceland, Bonniers Konsthal in Stockholm, Sweden, and Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany.