Gardar Eide Einarsson: Power Has a Fragrance

Gardar Eide Einarsson: Power Has a Fragrance

Astrup Fearnley Museet

Installation view
Gardar Eide Einarsson
‘Power Has a Fragrance’

May 15, 2010

Gardar Eide Einarsson: Power Has a Fragrance
6 May – 15 August 2010

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
Dronningens gt 4, 0107 Oslo

We are proud to present the first major museum exhibition of the young Norwegian artist Gardar Eide Einarsson (b. 1976). For several years Einarsson’s art has been subject to a major international attention, and with his characteristic works Einarsson has developed into one of today’s most notable, young artists from the Nordic countries.

The dual theme of authority and rebellion is a point of departure for Einarsson’s visually hermetic, mostly black and white paintings, carefully constructed sculptures, photographs, videos, flags and flyers. Einarsson engages with alternative and abject cultures in order to unsentimentally address the workings of contemporary society from within its anomalous manifestations.

In the exhibition, “Power Has a Fragrance,” Einarsson takes existing visual material as a starting point, to create works that relates to both the abstract language of Minimalism and the narrative structures of Pop Art. Reflective of his international career, he expands his complex network of references beyond western culture and the present.

There are many parallel realities in the universe of Gardar Eide Einarsson. At least two contradictory, albeit productive, forces immediately appear to be at stake. One represents the virtuosity of blur and fuzziness, which clouds his works in fog and introduces shifting focal points within which dark and gloomy enigmas emerge. Here the artist stages a novelistic sfumato and an overriding atmosphere of uncertainty and dark melancholia. Words and images stir up a wealth of connotations to notions like “suspended”, “memory flashes”, “vertigos”, “fugitive encounters”, and “unchartered territories”. The other involves a very different narrative. The environment here is that of the clear-sighted and the investigator; it is detailed, pointed and obsessive. Seeking precise points of reference and arbitrary details, it matches texts from instruction manuals and police handbooks with badges worn by solders in Iraq, signs from bars and restaurants, pictures of prisoners’ coded tattoos, and a photo of a well-known drug dealer. Together, they resist the impression of anonymity and elusiveness otherwise insinuated. The result is an eerie environment, which is simultaneously ambiguous and hyper-realistic. On one hand, we witness the blur of an abstraction, a quiet tempest of a Robert Motherwell painting or a geometrical rhythm of an Ellsworth Kelly composition; on the other, we experience a sense of precision akin to an immigration manual.

A richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with texts by Gunnar B. Kvaran, Nicolas Bourriaud, Ina Blom and Sjón is published in relation to the exhibition.

An online exhibition catalogue is available on

The exhibition will also be shown at Reykjavik Art Museum, Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm and Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel.

Curators: Gunnar B. Kvaran, Hanne Beate Ueland and Grete Årbu.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is generously supported by Stiftelsen Thomas Fearnley, Heddy og Nils Astrup and Astrup Fearnley AS

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Astrup Fearnley Museet
May 15, 2010

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