Kunstnerforbundet 14 jan til 14 feb 2016

pressemelding:

Kunstnerforbundet har gleden av å presentere en utstilling med Gisle Harr. Harr vil vise skulpturer og veggarbeider i Vindussalen. Harr har tidligere gjort seg bemerket med sine bemalte, figurative skulpturer av hverdagshelter og populærkulturelle figurer. Til utstillingen i Kunstnerforbundet viser han skulpturer i sin umalte form, støpt i gips. De hvite gipsskulpturene bringer tankene hen til billedhuggerens verksted og de ulike stadiene til et skulpturarbeid, fra små skisser til større og mer bearbeidede utkast. Dette levende og utprøvende stadiet løftes frem som et særlig produktivt stadium. Skulpturenes skisseaktige karakter bekrefter skissens status som en autonom og selvstendig kunstform. Harr arbeider mye etter levende modell. Han interesserer seg for det som skjer i møtet mellom kunstneren og modellen, et klassisk tema i kunsthistorien, foreviget av både Picasso og Matisse, og grundig dokumentert gjennom Auguste Rodin og Gustav Vigelands fotografier. Å arbeide etter modell krever et våkent blikk og en rask teknikk. Skulpturene utvikles videre på grunnlag av modellerte skisser, tegninger og fotografier.

I Harrs portrettgalleri finner man historiske personer, hverdagshelter, countrymusikere, familiemedlemmer, hester og hverdagsobjekter. I tillegg vises et skulpturarbeid i form av et puslespill basert på det norske flagget. Utstillingen i Kunstnerforbundet bekrefter Harr som en formidabel skulptør, men viser også til fulle kompleksiteten i hans kunstnerskap. I tillegg til de tredimensjonale arbeidene viser Harr en serie todimensjonale arbeider; sammenstillinger av tegning, maleri og fotografi, presentert både på vegg og i et gammelt arkivskap. Disse arbeidene innehar noe av skulpturenes skisseaktige karakter. Her presenteres et sammensatt og personlig billedarkiv som lar ulike motivtyper og kunstneriske prosesser tre frem. Sammenstillingene åpenbarer både visuelle og meningsfulle nettverk hvor ofte motsetningsfylte motiver kommer i dialog. Blant annet viser han portrett, interiør- og eksteriørstudier gjort på stedet i atelier- og nærmiljøer i Oslo, Roma og Paris. En annen kategori er abstrakte fargetegninger som lar tankene gå til blant annet Hilma af Klint. Både de abstrakte og figurative nedtegnelsene samt eksperimentene gir dybde til de skulpturelle fremstillingene. Harrs kunstnerskap er tuftet på et observant blikk for omgivelser og menneskelige karaktertrekk, men også det menneskeskapte i form av historier, spor og symboler. Dette blikket omsettes gjennom ulike tematikker og medier til komplekse og underfundige verk.

Gisle Harr (f. 1966) bor og arbeider i Oslo. Han er utdannet ved Kunstakademiet og Statens håndverks- og kunstindustriskole i Oslo, samt Kunstakademiet i Budapest. Han har holdt en rekke utstillinger i Norge og internasjonalt. Harr har også gjennomført en rekke offentlige utsmykninger. Hans kunstneriske virksomhet inkluderer også scenografi, illustrasjon, musikalske og performative prosjekter.

Gisle Harr – Constructions of the Human Kind

For his latest show at Kunstnerforbundet, Gisle Harr’s figures, sketches, and combinatory artworks bring photo, sculpture, watercolour and sketch processes together. They are all part of the same soup. The soup has no words. It uses physical exemplary artefacts of contemporary life to construct a model. That model is emphatic in that it never completes itself, and may be at the point of deconstruction or some completely diverse compaction of what once was a lyrical, narrative, fluid and free universe.

These works seem to question the very nature of artistic production, not by the way they are made, but in their presentation. It is almost comical, or theatre in miniature, a tongue-in-cheek glance at the artist’s role as art market producer. Like cars, so goes art…. With some of these works, as with the colour bands, jigsaw puzzle-like sections of colour that lay like flat Lego pieces on the floor, the sense is of an unconscious deconstruction. The elements could even represent a flag at the point of coming apart, or together, as if in a physical animated reality show. It could even be the Norwegian flag! The sense of the artist’s intention is challenged by the way of presenting the art works, which is a form of art itself. And a watercolour of a dumpster seems innocuous, but it suggests, or indirectly references, the culture of consumption, of acquisition and subsequent deleting, of products, and even imagery. Marshall McLuhan the “global village” idea person often referenced the neutralization of imagery in a world where communication would flatten the meaning of experience and what “being in the present moment” could be.

In this sense, Gisle Harr’s presentational art show is really an effort to naturalize, to enter into a humanist dialogue on art and the creative process. We see some of his miniature flat white figures in the form of portrait busts on wheels that you can manually turn, the “physical spin” being different than “automatic spin”. The scales vary on the portrait heads, the ordinary looking maquette people. And a “colour wheel” painted like a miniature abstract painting, is equally amusing. Is it parody? “Utopia” has Day-Glo outlined sketches of sports clothes and socks next to a colour press sports photo. The scale makes us question the nature of the production. One wall work has a Rorschach test-like abstract visual map in black and white, and a miniature Norwegian flag, also in black and white’ All this is positioned next to a loose drawing of people outdoors. A tree and a dog complete the piece. It’s a composite – with these three elements. Slight dislocation, of some immovable world is suggested by the juxtaposition. It is still very familiar, a humanist ideogram. We see a set of old fashioned vertical drawers… and you can pull out each drawer to see the drawings, watercolours within – each is hidden and then revealed. Each is uniquely open, less than finished, a metaphor for the creative process at its innermost state. We get that physical sense of a visual world, and that it exists in a physical universe, not cyberspace.

As with Gisle Harr’s “Action Men” the tiny colourful gnome-like people from a post-Pop universe, these tiny white figures, are maquettes for a proposed public dialogue. The social matrix is here, in the guitarist, the choirmaster, and the lady who sits like Humpty Dumpty on a wall. «Man is created free, is free, though he be born in chains.», Friedrich Schiller once wrote. And these words parallel the suggestion in Gisle Harr’s figures, and multi-media agglomerations, like the sketch of an old lady, that has, next to it a photo of an abandoned coat on a street curb. A post-industrial hybrid anxiety pervades Gisle Harr’s mini-universe, a child-like garden of post-consumer art. It is all over the place, and yet at its centre we can hear voices amid the space, those voices are of the human kind. It’s all about the fragility of being, and the resilience of the human spirit.

 

– John K. Grande

John K. Grande has published his work extensively in Artforum, Sculpture (USA), Border Crossings, Arte.Es (Spain), and the British Journal of Photography. His latest book is Nils-Udo –  Sur l’Eau (Actes Sud, France). He curates Earth Art at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Canada and recently curated Eco-Art at the Pori Art Museum in Finland.

 

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