Ditone print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Glossy 310 g/m² paper
42 × 32 cm – with the image measuring 40 x 30 cm
Edition of 100 copies, signed and numbered by the artist
about this work
One key impulse in the oeuvre of the writer and visual artist Matias Faldbakken, who rose to international renown with his Scandinavian Misanthropy trilogy of novels (The Cocka Hola Company, Macht und Rebel, and Unfun) as well as his formalist sculptures, is the poverty of materials. Framed garbage bags or flattened cardboard boxes, cut-up jerricans or corded lockboxes: it is always with minimal gestures that Faldbakken renders everyday implements unusable and stages them as art. This understanding of abstraction – which dramatizes the banality of the ordinary with minor yet effective interventions, transcending its literal reality – correlates with the absence of an unequivocal narrative or explicit motif: the negative impulse of smudging, effacement, and destruction is the point of Faldbakken’s playwith iconic signifiers.
His edition ABSTRACT ENVY is a case in point. The black-and-white Ditone print on glossy photographic paper revisits a work that Faldbakken made in 2013 for his first solo show at Galerie Neu. Using the magnetic tape from a VHS cassette of the Hollywood flick Envy (starring Jack Black and Ben Stiller), Faldbakken created an abstract painting that, for this edition, he mounted on the wall of his studio.“Be Kind Please Rewind!” the cassette reads, in a kind of anachronistic nod to the artist’s self-quotation.
about Matias Faldbakken
Norwegian artist and writer Matias Faldbakken’s practise centres around the collision, following a precise conceptual procedure with trivial gestures of vandalism, appropriation and poetry. Inspired by minimal and conceptual art of the 1960s and ’70s, with its deconstructive focus on the object and the gallery space, Faldbakken criticizes the ideology of the white cube space.
Faldbakken has an ongoing interest in transforming an existing language of forms related to a particular period in modernism and is renowned for his radical, provocative attacks on society and the art world. In thousands of ways, his work pronounces a resounding ‘no’: he destroys and provokes, but at the same time he recognises that he irrevocably belongs to the society to which he is saying ‘no’.
His practice holds in perpetual tension the forces of proposition and cancellation, vandalism and erasure, aesthetic generosity and conceptual restraint, the possibility of language and its abstraction into illegibility. In recent works, mass-produced containers are subjected to various manipulations and often rendered useless. The objects he adapts often veer between the iconic and the almost painfully generic.