Thingumbob Screens Overlaps, an exhibition featuring new works by Matias Faldbakken at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich. 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 selfcontradicting: Despite the built-in negation his works are presented in art contexts and therefore recognized as art.
As a writer, Faldbakken published the "Scandinavian Misathropy" 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 it’s 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 which 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 object 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 it’s sheer objectness while giving it a certain function: that of a screen. At the same time, the plaster with it’s brittle characteristic counteracts the idea of screens and their shiny mirroring surfaces.
Faldbakken uses the illusive combination of picture and sculpture to push his strategy of negation forward. His works evoke the idea that art is always created through it’s frame or it’s 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 - Thingumbob Screens Overlap
Galerie Eva Presenhuber, April 9 - May 21