Michael Kvium: European Intruder
Gallery Faurschou Beijing
08 March – 25 May 2008
Faurschou Beijing is pleased to present “European Intruder”, Michael Kvium first gallery exhibition in China.
Michael Kvium is one of Scandinavia’s most distinctive painters. He had his breakthrough in the middle of the 1980s, where he demonstrated straight away his very personal, figurative way of painting.
Since then, Kvium has furthered his technique as a painter to a point of perfection, and sharpening his idiom around a motif world, from the onset occupied with the study of humanity and the fundamental conditions of existence. In Kvium's gloomy but also absurdly humorous exegesis of human life, he puts on display that which worries him about the cultural, social and political conditions we have created for ourselves.
In his first exhibition at Faurschou Beijing, the most significant characteristic is absence. Almost nobody is around. Just a wintry bog, a Scandinavian waste land abandoned for the omnipresent, lurking crows, and the thin, naked oak and birch trees. The silence, that is present here, is alarming. To the viewer, the trees, standing lonely in a deserted landscape, almost seem like human figures. But with the traces of human existence left on the surface of the painted ground, the viewer soon realizes that he’s the stand-in, the deputy of mankind. But he becomes conscious of the painters’ presence as well.
Death is lurking in Michael Kvium’s works. Even though Michael Kvium to a greater extent paints nature now, he is far from a landscape painter a classical and naturalistic sense. Kvium continuously dismantles the realism in his landscapes and conveys meaning by juxtaposing ideas, or by dividing the canvases into diptychs or triptychs, thus creating an abstraction, as well as conveying an affinity with Modernist painting. The focus on the entire canvas is often directed downwards. The finest color palette is visible at the dark bottom of the canvas; Nuances of brown, purple, grey, ochre, green, yellow and pink. The paintings are almost of decorative nature, had it not been for the presence of the numerous cigarette buds, the banana peel, the toilet paper, an empty packet of cigarettes, a deserted trainer– or the cut off fingers suddenly dispersed on the painted ground.
Michael Kvium has this sublime ability to make us laugh at ourselves and realise our folly. However, for Kvium, life ultimately ends with becoming one with nature and the earth beneath our feet. This is a message that Michael Kvium’s melancholic landscapes visualise in powerful way. Body and nature are connected and thus allude to the continuous cycle of life and death.
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