Artist News

Simon Evans & Öyvind Fahlström: "First we make the rules, then we break the rules"- Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

Bo­th Si­mon Evans (b. 1972) and Öy­vind Fahl­ström (1928–1976) ha­ve de­ve­lo­ped se­pa­ra­te car­to­gra­phies of the world wi­th the eyes of a tra­vel­ler. Evans lar­ge­ly pro­du­ces psy­cho-geo­gra­phi­cal maps that enable him to de­fi­ne his own stand­point and lo­ca­te him­s­elf wi­t­hin his en­vi­ron­ment; star­ting from the per­so­nal, put­ting his fin­ger on ge­ne­ral hu­man short­co­mings and de­s­i­res. Fahl­ström is in­te­rested in the laws go­verning the collec­tive that are re­flec­ted in pop cul­tu­ral pic­to­ri­al worlds and in the ac­cu­mu­la­ti­on of po­li­ti­cal and eco­no­mic da­ta. He com­po­sed pain­tings and in­stal­la­ti­ons from va­ria­ble ele­ments and for­med po­li­ti­cal­ly char­ged in­for­ma­ti­on in­to com­plex geo­po­li­ti­cal maps that relent­less­ly re­veal glo­bal in­jus­ti­ces. The va­ria­bi­li­ty of the ele­ments, the ga­me as the ba­sis of the art­work cle­ar­ly shows that the world can fun­da­men­tal­ly be al­te­red by the in­di­vi­du­al. Bo­th Fahl­ström and Evans mo­ti­va­te the view­er to re­think his own po­si­ti­on, whe­ther wi­t­hin the glo­bal play of power or in the ever­y­day. And the two ar­tists al­so ma­ke ge­ne­rous use of sar­casm and iro­ny in their ana­ly­ses, wi­th the re­sult that Evans is far re­mo­ved from any and all form of sen­ti­men­tal self-adu­la­ti­on and Fahl­ström’s work does not ap­proach the re­alm of po­li­ti­cal pro­pa­gan­da. The for­mal in­ge­nui­ty of the ar­tists, bo­th of whom uti­li­se col­la­ge tech­ni­ques and frag­men­ta­ti­on, is li­ke­wi­se fa­sci­na­ting in equal me­a­su­res. Fahl­ström tre­ats the over­a­b­un­dance of vi­su­al in­for­ma­ti­on in com­po­si­tio­nal­ly con­den­s­ed la­by­rin­thal struc­tu­res, com­bi­ning ap­pro­pria­ted ima­ges wi­th fic­titious forms or crea­ting ne­ar­ly dream­li­ke se­quen­ces when, for ex­amp­le, the swim­ming fi­gu­res from Green Pool co­me to­ge­ther in ever new con­stel­la­ti­ons. Li­ke his as­so­cia­ti­ve ob­ser­va­tions, Evans’ works ha­ve an al­most ephe­me­ral and de­li­ca­te cha­rac­ter. Just as the ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal world over­lap in the col­la­ges, count­less lay­ers of text and image si­mi­lar­ly over­lap. Ti­ny snip­pets of pa­per cut out of note­books, ever­y­day ele­ments, drawings, era­su­res and over­pas­tings re­sult in a con­cen­tra­ted net­work of in­ter­wo­ven ele­ments. Tra­ces of ti­me, the flow of ide­as as well as the awa­ren­ess about the im­pos­si­bi­li­ty of fixa­ti­on are con­se­quent­ly al­so re­flec­ted in for­mal terms in Evans’ works. He si­mul­ta­neous­ly coun­ter­acts si­tua­tio­nist ac­tivi­ties wi­th con­cre­te in­struc­tions, fin­dings and as­ser­ti­ons. The idea of show­ing a dou­b­le ex­hi­bi­ti­on wi­th works by the­se two ar­tists ca­me about in a dia­lo­gue about their works. Even mo­re fruit­ful was the dis­co­very that for Si­mon Evans – and doubt­less­ly for ma­ny other con­tem­pora­ry ar­tists as well – Fahl­ström’s oeu­vre re­pres­ents a ma­jor sour­ce of in­spi­ra­ti­on.

The show fo­cu­ses on a small selec­tion of works de­pic­ting maps, ground­plans and play­ing fields or – in Fahl­ström’s ca­se – which ac­tual­ly func­tion as ga­mes. The ar­tists use the­se clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on prin­ci­ples in or­der to struc­tu­re com­plex con­texts: First we ma­ke the ru­les. They break at the sa­me wi­th the usu­al me­ans of sys­te­mi­sa­ti­on de­s­pi­te em­ploy­ing their me­thods in terms of form: Then we break the ru­les – it is a claim that Evans re­de­ems by way of the sup­po­sed typ­ing er­ror on the in­vi­ta­ti­on and ca­ta­lo­gue co­ver bo­th in terms of its li­te­ral as well as its fi­gu­ra­ti­ve mea­ning.

15. DE­CEM­BER 2012 – 17. FE­BRU­ARY 2013
Cu­ra­ted by Elo­die Evers und Magda­le­na Holz­hey

The ex­hi­bi­ti­on is ac­com­pa­nied by a ca­ta­lo­gue pu­blis­hed by the Ver­lag der Buch­hand­lung Walt­her Kö­nig that fea­tures nu­me­rous co­lour il­lus­tra­ti­ons, a fo­r­e­word by Elo­die Evers and Magda­le­na Holz­hey, an in­ter­view wi­th Si­mon Evans by Elo­die Evers in ad­di­ti­on to es­says by Ra­pha­el Ru­bin­stein and Mai­b­ritt Bor­gen.

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(Text: Kunsthalle Düsseldorf)