Monday, June 18, 2012

IDEAL POLE part two: All Words Destroy, a reality testing by Bjarne Melgaard, at Ramiken Crucible

Went to Ramiken yesterday to see the second part of the Bjarne Melgaard show. This painting was like a page out of Jerzy Kosinski!

All the works in the show were made by mentally disabled patients.

The press release was succinct and in tune with the current cultural climate. I enjoyed the Dubuffet quote Melgaard used, "those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses - where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere - are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professions. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade." 

Melgaard is essentially expounding the tenets of expressionism in the second part of Ideal Pole.  

The show is a reflection of much of what is going on now, especially towards the current resurgence of modernism and the backlash against theory. 

What's curious about the current trend towards modernism, is how different it is from the neo-expressionism that emerged in the eighties. It seems that the current generation of artists working in this mode now is reacting against the theory-laden art of the nineties and that by turning their thoughts inward, and focusing on a more personalized vision, also seem to be seeking an insular comfort from our times; a period of economical hardship and the greatest turmoil and societal unrest since the sixties.

By flipping the modernist formula around Melgaard has created a contemporary take on Art Brut. Artists such as Paul Klee and Dubuffet were studying and copying the work of the mentally ill, but there was still a stylized affectation to their work. Their faux naivety was mannered, whereas Melgaard left out his own hand and gave the patients themselves free reign.

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