July 25, 2007 - Frankfurter Kunstverein - Gardar Eide Einarsson
July 25, 2007

Gardar Eide Einarsson

Inkjet print on plywood, 200 x 120 cm.
Courtesy the artist and STANDARD (OSLO).


July 27 – September 16, 2007

Steinernes Haus am Römerberg,
Markt 44, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany<br>
phone: +49.69.2193140<br>
fax: +49.69.21931411
Tuesday – Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm

In Underworld, a novel by the American writer Don DeLillo, one of the characters mentions how, “lately, geography seems to have gone back on itself and become smaller.” Each of us assimilates only a part of the world that surrounds us, trying to escape from the density of an accelerated multitude of sensations. When withdrawing we only take in a small portion of what is happening around us and thus almost automatically adapt to move around our individual realities.

“South of Heaven”, a major solo exhibition by the New York-based Norwegian artist Gardar Eide Einarsson, departs from a similar notion: all of us customize the world in a way or other to make sense of it. Citizens, criminals, outlaws of all kinds as well as artists try to make sense of the systems they operate in. A series of photos depicting political messages taken from the streets of New York, black paintings using tattoo motives, flags, army blankets, a jail table, a bomb checklist, a video showing the US flag fluttering in an eternal loop on the floor of the exhibition space they all seem remains of a bigger picture that we need to reconstruct in our minds. We have probably heard of most stories to which the works are referring. Actually quite simply the works are preoccupied with all kinds of individual and collective attempts to break the “social contract” from the Unabomber to some legal and illegal power lobbies.

The works of Gardar Eide Einarsson share a sober elegance that contributes even more to intrigue the viewer. Using what at first sight looks like a very depurated formalistic language the artist poses to the viewer the question of what he really is looking at. By absorbing and then isolating motifs from the so-called underground music and from literature scenes and then weaving them together with political references, Gardar Eide Einarsson forces us to reflect upon the difference between contemplating an image and using it.
Black Flag (Liberty), 2004, depicts a black flag with a half moon, or Untitled (American Flag), 2007, an inkjet print on plywood, shows the American flag ready to be used, ready to add a personalized text. The series of Outlaws paintings (2004-2005), displayed on the floor, constitute a strange family album of signs ready to be used by a dubious gang. Their aesthetics convey the spirit of the conservative American south state movement, an interest, which also pops up in Conservative, Traditional, Ultra Traditional, 2005 a photographic work by Gardar Eide Einarsson in which a series of sleeves and bottoms of white-collar politicians appear in the image like a syntax of sartorial conservatism.

Thus “South of Heaven” on one hand is intended to familiarize the viewer with Gardar Eide Einarsson’s very particular and personal way of investigating different media and materials. On the other hand the exhibition discovers the way art can serve to emphasize transversal readings, sourced from street culture and politics. In the works of Gardar Eide Einarsson art and reality come into a relation of mutual resonance and exchange rather than of representation. The artworks in “South of Heaven” have been chosen with the intention to present a working methodology as well as to use the exhibition as a framework for the viewer to engage in the tension that exists between the world of images and the world as a place where action can take place, where violence is more than an image.

Gardar Eide Einarsson’s “South of Heaven” has been organized in collaboration with the Centre d’Art Contemporain Gèneve.

SPONSOR: The exhibition has been realized with kind support from the Office for Contemporary Art Norway.

VENUES: Centre d’Art Contemporain Gèneve (18 January – 16 March 2008).

CATALOGUE: A catalogue with texts by Katya García-Antón, Ina Blom, Dieter Roelstraete, Chus Martínez, Ingo Niermann and a conversation between Gardar Eide Einarsson and Bob Nickas will be published in German, English and French by Revolver, Frankfurt am Main. Designed by Christoph Keller

OPENING HOURS: TuesdaySunday, 11 am7 pm
INFORMATION: www.fkv.de

(text and image for download under PRESS)

Frankfurter Kunstverein
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