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Anders Kjellesvik - Conceptual Romance

29 June—24 August 2024



Anders Kjellesvik - Conceptual Romance
29 June—24 August 2024
Opening: 28 June, 6—9 pm

All of a sudden, a point detaches itself; like the nucleus of a cell, it grows, the colors are clustered around it, heaped; rays develop, shooting forth branches and twigs like ice crystals on the window panes…and the picture reveals itself to the viewer, who has assisted at the birth of the painting. — August Strindberg

Anders Kjellesvik relates his material-based approach to August Strindberg's 'chance in artistic creation,' where the artist relinquishes control over the final result, allowing time and their surroundings to influence the character of the artwork. Similar to Strindberg’s celestographs—experimental paintings that the Swedish writer created by exposing light-sensitive plates to natural conditions—Kjellesvik utilizes pigment printing in combination with a slow painting process to observe how the materiality of the paint reveals its ambiguous narratives over time. Rasterized monochrome photographs are printed using mechanical heat transfer onto the canvas, upon which the artist builds layers through mono-printing, spray, airbrush, pigments and binders.

"Conceptual Romance," Anders Kjellesvik's third solo show at Michael Janssen, delves into the intricacies of communication between painting and photography on both technical and metaphysical levels. Figurative elements materialize through multiple layers of grainy prints, as if in an analogue film, but the image, never fully developed, remains concealed in the translucent shades of oneiric abstractions. The fragmented, dream-like nature of Kjellesvik’s paintings is reminiscent of a hazy memory that evokes a sense of otherworldly nostalgia. However, the otherwise autonomous depictions of human bodies, animals, and trees are unified by a hypnotic color palette of cool, electric purples, blues, and greens, infusing the artworks with mystical sensuality.

These ethereal, richly textured paintings, which invite viewers on a transcendental pictorial journey, are inspired by the worldly expeditions that Kjellesvik has been organizing for the past 20 years alongside fellow Norwegian artist Andreas Siqueland, as part of their collaborative travel-art project called "aiPotu" (the word “utopia” spelled backwards). During their travels, Kjellesvik and Siqueland playfully engage with their surroundings, using temporary interventions as a form of social practice. Together the artists built a public shower in an Irish brook, erected a monument to honor unrepresented nomadic groups in a small Norwegian community, and floated along the shores of lake Mjøsa inside a giant potato sculpture. Their whimsical experiments rebel against standardized, capitalist forms of art creation, favoring community-oriented, site-specific acts carried out within natural settings.

The show celebrates two decades of these ludic art explorations, translating photographic images into a less figurative language that focuses on the introspective aspect of the journeys. Inspired by the song of the same name by Norwegian singer and writer Jenny Hval, the title "Conceptual Romance" refers to the sophisticated relationship between material and matter, showing how the latter reveals itself through the pictorial fabric —softly and gradually, yet with a will of its own. Out of this romance the painting is being born, and Kjellesvik assists its birth with patience and curiosity. The original wound, the origin of the world.

Image: Anders Kjellesvik, Night Vision (Kinderbauernhof), 2024, Pigment print, mono print, acrylics and airbrush on stretched canvas, 140 x 110 cm