The Norwegian artist Matias Faldbakken is internationally well known for his direct, provocative and radical attitude. In his artistic production Faldbakken engages with social conventions and meets pop culture with a counter gesture, when rejection and refusal merge with forms of chaos and vandalism. The media and products evolving from pop societies and determining social systems of order, do not only serve him as a conceptual starting point but also as artistic tools. Whereas material and objects from the everyday cultural production like newspapers, magazines, TV, video and the Internet, as well as spray paint, tape and markers belong to his working material, language plays a central role in his oeuvre. Text-based works as large wall installations, as works on canvas, drawings, prints and graffiti are drawing a continuous line through his whole artistic work and are building the tenor of an all-out attitude of denial. Against this background Faldbakken’s recent works are of an extreme and radical adoption of the nihilistic basic idea.

Reduction and abstraction as means of turning ones back to the world as well as a destructive gesture, which expresses itself in the spontaneous act and a demolishing process, conduce Matias Faldbakken to an artistic attitude, which also manifests an anti-aesthetic, explicitly directed by the artist against the conventional art production. In his recent works Faldbakken is using and at the same time mocking the artistic practice by showing destructed sculptural everyday objects like metal lockers and news racks or serialises a production in either sometimes framed prints or sometimes plastic bags which he further works on. This artistic attitude will also be transposed in his solo show THAT DEATH OF WHICH ONE DOES NOT DIE at Kunsthalle Fridericianum. With the background of the long tradition of the house as a museum and renowned exhibition venue Faldbakken designs a counter concept, which does arise in a very salon-like presentation on the one hand and on the other in the material and visual reduction as well as in a vandalistic gesture. By both playing with and opposing the architecture of the generous gallery space, the artist will present a series of more than thirty new works of the ‘garbage bag drawings’, which will dominate the whole exhibition space. These works, which can be understood as a development of the well-known Tape-series and which are especially produced for this exhibition, will show abstract abbreviations and acronyms, which are drawn sketchily and sleazy with a black marker on large garbage bags. The bags themselves are framed uniformly and precisely and therewith evoke a direct confrontation with the conventional presentation of art. Following this motivation the ‘garbage bag drawings’ will dominate the main wing of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum. Hung up neatly and in order only the drawings will refer to a certain irregularity, which dissolves in complete disorder and chaos in the side wing of the museum. There the bags will mostly be unframed and hung up without a visible regular structure, sometimes overlapping themselves, sometimes covering the windows. This dissolution of regularity into chaos will be supported by an installation with fire extinguishing foam, a colaboration with Anders Nordby, partially covering the walls and a large part of the floor, so the material is carried and spread by the visitors. Here destruction and vandalism are building the corner stones of an art production, which in the end negates itself.

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Matias Faldbakken

In his oeuvre, Norwegian artist and writer Matias Faldbakken (born in Hobro, 1973) covers a wide range of media. From 1994-98, he studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Bergen, and from 1996-97 at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. He lives and works in Oslo.

Matias Faldbakken's most recent solo exhibitions include in 2010 Known to Few, Unknown to Fewer at Simon Lee Gallery (London) AN ALPHA DISGUISED AS A BETA at Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch (Berlin), You Think You Go But You Gon't at Objectif (Antwerp), THE HHILLS at STANDARD (OSLO), in 2009 Shocked Into Abstraction at Ikon Gallery (Birmingham) and the National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture (Oslo) as well as a solo show at Reena Spaulings Fine Art (New York) and Extreme Siesta at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, in 2008 The Way of the Bummer at the Simon Lee Gallery (London) and Empty Glass at Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch (Berlin). Additionally his works have been included in numerous international group exhibitions as well as the Sydney Biennial in 2008 and 2004, the Whitney Biennial in 2006 and the Venice Biennial in 2005, where his works were on display at the Nordic Pavilion. Beside his solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Faldbakken has upcoming shows at Neuer Aachener Kunstverein and Schinkel Pavillon (Berlin).

Faldbakken made his literary debut in 2001 with the novel The Cocka Hola Company as the first part of his Scandinavian Misanthropy Trilogy which was completed by Macht und Rebel (2002) and Unfun (2008). In 2006 he released the play Kaldt Produkt.


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