Gardar Eide Einarsson
09/09/2009 > 05/12/2009
Opening on 09/09/2009, from 7 pm to 9 pm
For his first exhibition at BUGADA & CARGNEL gallery, GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON shows a set of new pieces through which he keeps exploring, in a wry and minimalist way, representations of authority and their ambiguities. The Norwegian artist, based in New York City, uses pre-existing images that he imports into the field of art as black and white, often large format paintings, photographs or sculptures.
For his best-known series, he enlarges into black and white paintings, at the same time sharp and baring traces of emergency in their making, covers of books, often from alternative literature, whose design takes after post-war abstract painting. In the exhibition, Towards a Quaker View of Sex (2009) pictures the title and abstract form, designed to avoid any sort of ambiguity, of the cover of a 1960s pamphlet exposing the views of the puritan religious movement on sexuality. Kaligula (Caligula) (2009) transposes the poster of a Czech adaptation of Albert CAMUS' play from the same period, depicting Caligula as an idealist. A Manifesto for Philosophy (2009) is inspired by the cover of the American edition of French philosopher Alain BADIOU's new book, the solemn title contrasting with the minimalist black hole pattern. Finally, Nada (1985) (2009) comes from the eponymous album cover by influential post-industrial band Death in June, whose over-romanticized imagery, linked to a gay sub-culture, included symbols revolving around authoritarianism, violence, and death; here, a mysterious figure comes out of the void.
GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON also shows, in the form of two diptychs, blown-up images from 1970s police manuals prints illustrating how to hold a flashlight without risking to get shot at (Untitled (Light), 2009) or open a door safely (Untitled (Void), 2009). A light in the night or an open door to the unknown, these illustrations strangely tend towards minimalism and conceptualism, without the viewer knowing precisely on which side of the gun the danger really is.
Published in newspapers, two ID pictures of Norwegian petty criminals (Untitled (Grid), 2009), pixelated to ensure anonymity, thus making their publication paradoxical, verge on modernism. A discrete touch of color in the show, Untitled (Color) (2009) reproduces the icon used in chat rooms by the German teenager who killed fifteen students from his school in March 2009 before being shot by the police, delivering a surprisingly cool message: 'Abandon the post, get a drink'.
A sculpture (Untitled (BBQ), 2009) reproduces a home-made barrel barbecue spotted by the artist, decorated by its owners with a Dixie flag whose drippings seem inspired by GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON's work. Finally, the wall painting Heritage (2009) uses Gothic font unexpectedly found in a Japanese book from the 1970s, and refers both to the notion of legacy in art and to the hazy quote 'Heritage Not Hate' used to define American South doctrine.
In the same way, the enigmatic title of the show is a sentence from a handwritten note by serial killers Dennis NILSEN, who, while not missing a certain sense of poetry, seems to try to get away with his actions. Revisiting a fascinating iconography, while questioning this very fascination, GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON creates new images based on images of Power and Order, and their corollary, Disorder and Crime, sending them back to back in the brutality of their representation.