I’m a fan of Gardar Eide Einarsson’s work, so when I unfortunately missed the opening of the Norwegian artists new show at Team Gallery last week I was pretty dissapointed. I made it down to Team yesterday to ensure I didn’t have to wait any longer, and as expected was impressed by the raw graphic styles of the artist’s show entitled ‘Another Modern Moment Completed’.
About the show: Reproduction as theft, and authorship as failed claim are the central conceits in this exhibition by Gardar Eide Einarsson. His concurrent fascinations with criminality and appropriation come together in an installation that appears to mark the jettisoning of his overt approach to political subject matter in favor of a formalist’s engagement with the legacy of modernism. Using the history of abstraction and pop as a readymade, Einarsson here distills a poetics of disruption, shifting between drippy hard edge abstraction, graphic renderings from mainstream sources, and the occasional deployment of the ben-day dot.
In preparation for this exhibition, Einarsson selected a number of images from the public domain that were of cursory interest to him: a book cover, the design on a napkin, a chain link fence, a section of the confederate flag, a comic book panel. He then set about transforming each of these pictures into an artwork. The stolen image became the property of the artist through gesture, labor, rendering. This project, however, has a secondary layer of appropriation for, after making each painting, Einarsson then immediately created another using the same image with a slight modification made through re-cropping or resizing. The “genuine” as embodied in the first painting is denied or, at the very least, called into question by the second. The drips, for example, become pastiche.
Einarsson’s paintings reflect iconic movements from the history of modernism, recalling the geometric vocabularies of artists such as Kasimir Malevich and Frank Stella, the pop-graphic derivations of Roy Lichtenstein, and the mannered nihilism of Steven Parrino. In Einarsson’s paintings the authoritative stance once required of hard-edged abstraction is usurped by subtle distortions of form and painterly accidents. His project willfully undermines the authority of these canonical movements, eschewing the purity of modernist abstraction in favor of a crafty rebelliousness. Einarsson’s interest in the historical lineage of political dissent is cunningly subsumed within the formal codes of his paintings. Through a rational use of post-modern quotations, they skillfully suggest (perhaps even mimic) an in-depth concern with a broader cultural field.
Extracted from Team Gallery, where the show runs through till May 22nd.