Bob Eikelboom & Asger H. Gjerdevik
‘Painting is painting’s favorite food’
Art history plays a fundamental role in most artistic practices.
Inspiration from the past can provide freedom in expression in the present.
Just like historical subjects in painting, archetypical stories keep on being presented in new ways. Shakespeare told similar stories as the ancient Greeks and nowadays we still find new forms to interpret Romeo and Juliet. History repeats so do ideas, imagery and subjects reoccur. Still-lives, portraits, nudes and flowers find new forms and meaning, new forms are found on the bridge between representation and abstraction.
In both Eikelboom and Gjerdevik’s work, which constitutes in mainly painting and drawing we can see and spot many motifs, ideas, and references of their predecessors. Building new works upon old traditions with nods and salutes to the heroes long gone.
But, as introduced in the first paragraph, this synthesis is not new, it is key to all creative practice. What stands out is the original approach to the problem of painting and art making. Eikelboom’s collage like magnetic paintings challenge the viewers conception of ‘the perfect composition’. How would you place the magnetic objects in the painting if you could change it? What meaning is derived if everything was different? And does it simply work if something is missing, added or changed?
This conceptual manner of painting takes digital image-making tools like photoshop into the analogue world and makes it tactile again. The interactive attitude in Eikelboom’s work is also seen in his sculptures, often extracted from furniture like tables and chairs. Fluorescent chair no3 is a work that between very bright light tubes in-beds a few artworks some of which are by Gjerdevik. The work resembles the friendship of the two artists but also the uneasiness and difficult conversation peers need to have. Eikelboom calls these works Conversation Pieces, others define them as electrical chairs.
One of the works by Gjerdevik that inhabits Fluorescent chair no3 is a small orange and blue painting. The size and the shape are distinguished from classical portraiture, but the directness and hardness are expressive and characteristic. Gjerdevik’s paintings and monotypes are created in layers where motifs interchange and patterns and images appear in the levels. Visuals includes interpretations of among other the Danish surrealist Elsa Thoresen, modifications of the German artist Oskar Manick as well as compositions inspired by the Swiss artist-duo Fischli und Weiss’ iconic work ‘One minute sculpture’.
Gjerdevik paintings, mostly large and full of stirred paint, where thick and translucent layers are buildup onto each other, give the spectator a real experience of the act of painting. The complicated compositions and worked through paintings don't reveal themselves strait away. Just like with Eikelboom’s magnetic paintings the viewer is confronted and indulged with the possibilities, freedom and problems of painting.
Bob Eikelboom (b.1991, Netherlands) studied at Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague (2008- 2012) and Royal College of Art, London (2015-2017). In 2014 he won the Dutch Royal Award for Modern Painting. His work is currently on view in The most contemporary picture show, Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht. Eikelboom recently had a duo show Making Money for my Friends, at the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht. His work is part of the collections of the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht and Kunsmuseum, The Hague and Centraal Museum Utrecht. His is also included in the corporate collections AkzoNobel, ING and KRC.
Asger Harbou Gjerdevik (b. 1986, Denmark) received his MFA in Painting from Royal College of Art and a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Recent solo exhibitions include CCA Andratx, Politikens Forhal, Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark and Alice Folker Gallery, Denmark, among others. Group exhibitions include Philipp Haverkampf, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthalle E-Werk, Schwerin, Germany; Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen, Denmark, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, UK. He has created a public commission to the Eastern High Court (2022) and the Western High Court (2021) and his works are in the collection of the City Council of Copenhagen.
Bob Eikelboom & Asger H. Gjerdevik
1 April - 25 May 2022
Photo credit: Alice Folker Gallery