The Nature of Nature
Skovhuset, Værløse, Denmark. The outside turned inside. The nature outside is projected on the inside of the gallery wall. Mural painting.
Esbjerg Kunstmuseum. Painted directly on the front of Esbjerg Art Museum. Innenaussen is an attempt to break down the frame of the art institution and literarily turn it inside out. The museum has to a certain extent become transparent with a view of the inside on the outside. Mural painting.
Painting without Borders
Wood pieces respectively cut in one, two, tree, four and five pieces. Randomly placed on the floor against the wall. The installation was drawn and painted on the wood and the wall to become a picture of itself. Mural painting.
Container containing Container
Statelitemuseum at Vejers Strand, Esbjerg Kunstmuseum, Denmark. Stepping into the container, you visually step out and see a representation of the outside from four different angles. In the middle of the container a sculpture of the container is placed in a distorted perspective. The container has become its own content.
The project attempts to reach the public where it is at that time, offering a surprising artistic experience where least expected. The container maintains standard museum conventions in the form of charging an entrance fee, using attendants and by keeping a clear distinction between the museum and the world, in this case the beach. The difference is simply that people are welcome to enter the museum in their swim suits with sandy feet.
Mural painting and painted wood.
Container: 2,5 x 2,5 x 6 m.
Sculpture: app. 130 cm x 125 cm.
The Container is the Content
Somewhat oddly placed, the site-specific installation Container containing Container attempts to call the museum as a container as well as the museum contents as meaning. Container containing Container. Container containing Content. Container containing Content containing Container. Content contained by Container. The Container is the Content.
The word 'container' has become a standard word in Danish meaning and connotations similar to english; a container is a large square unit which can be moved around and which all sorts of things can be stowed. Containers are often used for removals and may be seen particularly in major harbours such as Esbjerg. The installation title is based on a play on words which is impossible in Danish. The word 'container' itself is derived from the verb 'contain' which is closely related to the noun 'content' ( with second syllable stress, this combination of letters means 'satisfied'). The focus of meaning changes with the changing of words from what physically delimits the space inside ( in danish 'beholder' ) to what is is put into space (in danish 'índeholder').
A wider interpretation of the word could be 'meaning' leading to a possible translation of the above paragraph that reads like this; Beholder (Indeholder) indeholdende Beholder (Indeholder). Beholder (Indeholder) indenholdende Indhold. Beholder (Indeholder) indeholdendende Indhold indeholdende Beholder (Indeholder). Indhold indeholdt af Beholder (Indeholder). Beholderen (Indeholderen) er indholdet. It sounds like pure nonsense and could very well be and besides that, what has it got to do with art? Quite a lot, in fact. It is possible to view the art museum as a container, a 'beholder' or 'índeholder' containing contents, e.g. art equals contents and contents equal meaning.
What is art and what is the meaning of art?
Modernism has found it difficult to define art. This is where the museum or the institution comes into the picture. Since 1917, when Marcel Duchamp introduced an upside down urinal with the title 'Fountain' into the institution of art and had canonized as art, it has been largely impossible to come up with a definition of art which is philosophically tenable, and which builds on the innate qualities of the work, such as beauty or good craftsmanship.
Duchamp did not build or create the urinal himself, and the aesthetic judgement resides not in what he did, but rather in what he chose. Nevertheless the urinal is viewed as one of the major works of Modernism, and it has brought forth a change of paradigms concerning the conception of the nature and possible looks of art.
What makes it art, then?
According to Arthur C. Danto and later George Dickie it is the institution, which makes it art. By accepting it as art, i the art institution changes it to a work of art. Any other urinal in a men's room is still a urinal and not a work of art. This sounds strange, and so it is. In a way it comparable to a priest who, by declaring a marriage, in a split of a second creates a married couple. In a similar way it is possible for the artist or the art institution to say "I hereby declare this a work of art", and presto! it exists as such. Just like priest must be acknowledged by the church, the artist or the museum must be acknowledged by the institution. There has to be some kind of meaning behind it all. Whether it is good art or bad art is quite another story. Whether we like it or not, today this is the most common definition of art, accepted by the institution of art itself.
What has this got to do with a container on a beach?
Quite a lot! The very placing of the Esbjerg Art Museum logo on the outside of the container means that the container is no longer just that; it is a museum and thereby part of the institution of art; therefore it contains art. It has become inaugurated. In this particular case the paradox is that it contains itself, or rather, a representation of itself. On its four walls are projected a drawing of the container on the beach as seen from all four angles, and in the middle of the container is a a three-dimensional representation of the container itself. The container is projected into itself, simultaneously existing in its own right and as a picture of itself. The exterior has been turned into the interior. The contents have become the exterior, that is the container that which contains, while the container itself has become the contents.
So the container is now its own contents. Art is now its own container which makes it art has become the work of art. Form and content have forged and are now inextricable, while the work of art might be positioned somewhere in between. The institution has become its own work of art, its own meaning. Such issues are for the public to consider while having a cool dip in the roaring waves of the North Sea while enjoying the tickle of the sand between the toes.
Project 47, Berlin, Germany and Transit Art Space, Stavanger, Norway. The exhibition Salong showed paintings in the classical notion of the salon. Salong was an image of the former salons, projected into the contemporary salong, as a displacement in space and time. Mural painting.
Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, USA. A perspective drawing of the empty space is projected and painted into the space. The space becomes a representation of it self. Nothing becomes something. Mural painting.
North Exhibition Space, Denmark. A perspective drawing of the empty space is projected and painted into the space. The space becomes a representation of it self. Nothing becomes something. Mural painting.
Sörlandets Kunstnercenter, Norway. Drawings of the former show have been projected on the walls of the gallery. It appears as a "platonic" shadow of the former show. Mural painting.