Hans Alf Gallery
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Tuesday, 02 July 2019 11:56

Per Morten Abrahamsen: Paper Flowers

Per Morten Abrahamsen: Paper Flowers

07.06.19 - 29.06.2019

 

As part of the annual Copenhagen Photo Festival, we present an exhibition of three-dimensional still lifes by acclaimed Danish photographer Per Morten Abrahamsen.

 

In “PAPER FLOWERS”, Per Morten Abrahamsen presents a series of works that break with the two-dimensional plane of photography and reach out towards the viewer. By cutting out elements and simultaneously adding layers and contours, the ever-experimenting photographer attempts to rediscover the classical still life in a new context: Flowers, treated in a seemingly perfunctory way, are lifted out of the frame by Abrahamsen’s intervention, and transformed into wild and dynamic explosions of color in the pictorial space.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 02 July 2019 11:56

Armin Boehm: North

Armin Boehm: NORTH

25.05.19 - 29.06.2019

 

Armin Boehm (b. 1972, Aachen) has become one of the key figures in a generation of German artists that includes names like Jonas Burgert, Jonathan Meese and Anselm Reyle. Born and raised in West Germany, Boehm enrolled at the academy in Münster in 1995 and later graduated from Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2001, where he was a Meisterschüler of both Konrad Klapheck and Jörg Immendorff. Having experienced a steady upsurge in artistic impact and recognition since the mid-naughts, he is now represented by some of the most prominent galleries of the international art world.

 

As a painter, Boehm has a unique style and touch that make his images instantly identifiable. Boehm almost always incorporates paper and textile patches in his works as a tangible reminder of the many layers of meaning in any image. As Boehm himself puts it, he “likes to paint with a pair of scissors”. This technique serves to emphasize the constructed nature of the painting, and because of the unusual texture of the canvas, strangely recognizable but still not entirely familiar, the viewer is forced to reexamine the work and second-guess her first impression. It is a way of provoking the eye and impeding automatic cognitive reactions.

 

As an artist, Armin Boehm is both part of society and someone situated on the outside looking in; he is simultaneously the elegant Berlin dandy, who is often pictured lounging in the periphery of his own motives, and the perspicacious and sarcastic polemicist, who calmly registers and dissects from a distance. Whatever his subject may be – innocuous cityscapes, riots from the suburbs, surreal portraits, decadent champagne parlors or flower still lives – Boehm playfully and freely makes use of the past and the present, of the humorous and the tragic, the beautiful and the monstrous, of the political and the naïve. In his often rather epic paintings, he moreover demonstrates his abilities as a sardonic storyteller, who always allows for at least two contradictory readings of the same scenario.

 

In NORTH, Armin Boehm presents a new body of works that depicts the life of a modern metropolis. Boehm has taken inspiration from previous visits to Copenhagen, the architecture of the city, its rhythm and population, but the actual works are not necessarily meant to portray the Danish capitol: It could be anywhere in Europe.

 

The exhibition is compounded by a merger of four singular lines in the Boehmian nomenclature: the slightly chaotic but still innocent cityscapes; the mad and almost barbaric riot scenes; the grotesque and surreal psychological portraits; the lush and decadent depictions of the well-to-do. Although seemingly detached at a glance, combined these different lines actually provide a powerful diagnosis of life and the state of things in affluent western societies: We keep up appearances and lead a seemingly carefree life of comparative luxury and abundance, but rebellion, aggression and resistance always-already loom beneath the surface, and thus we cannot help but become torn and schizophrenic as a people. It is the eternal – and eternally ugly – fight between idealism and reality. And it is quite possibly both ugly and uncomfortable, but as Boehm himself once stated:

 

“I don’t want to do comfortable paintings. We live in an uncomfortable time.”

 

 

 

Thursday, 16 May 2019 12:17

Louise Hindsgavl: Becoming Undone

Louise Hindsgavl: Becoming Undone

05.04.19 - 18.05.2019

 

Since Louise Hindgavl’s first exhibition with Hans Alf Gallery, “Fixed Ideas” back in 2017, her career has seen a number of significant highlights. Last year, she was awarded the prestigious ‘Anne Marie Temanyi’ grant of 100.000 DKK (alongside Sophie Dupont and Trine Søndergaard among others), the New Carlsberg Foundation donated six of her works to the renowned Parisian museum ‘Musée des Arts Decorative’, and Hindsgavl made a substantial contribution to the award-winning exhibition “Wunderkammer” at the Esbjerg Museum of Art.

 

In Hindsgavl’s new exhibition, “Becoming Undone”, concepts such as dissolution, transformation and materialization serve as unifying themes. It is only through transformation, the process by which the existing ceases to be, that something new can emerge. By focusing on the very moment, in which the change occurs, Hindsgavl stresses that dissolution is an inevitable part of all human evolution - an evolution she explores through her new body of work.

 

On dissolution as a common theme, Hindsgavl says the following: “The caterpillar must perish for the butterfly to emerge. Neither caterpillars nor butterflies are depicted in my works; here it’s individuals, who are subjected to transformation. A transformation that might occur consciously or unconsciously, controlled or uncontrolled. Nevertheless, the individual goes through a transformation from one state to another.”

 

‘Undone’ describes the current state of the works. Using motifs that convey the process of dissolution, and the sense of chaos that ensues, Hindsgavl seeks to highlight this transitional phase that – although unpredictable and uncomfortable – contains the seed of evolution. It is in fact through this unfamiliar state, where everything is still unfinished and thus possible, that novelty is born.

 

With her meticulously crafted porcelain figures, Hindsgavl somehow also manages to communicate the untamed and uncivilized. This juxtaposition of both form and content, of expression and narrative, is highly exemplary of her artistic practice; an inherent suspense that becomes visible when disquieting, fable-like scenarios unfold in the innocent, almost decadent porcelain. Through her thematic dark narratives embossed by erotica, humor and ambiguity, Hindsgavl seeks to demonstrate how development goes hand-in-hand with despair, joy with sorrow, and desire with pain. With “Becoming Undone”, Hindsgavl yet again proves, why she is one of the most prominent ceramicists in Denmark.

 

 

Wednesday, 08 May 2019 13:23

Henrik Saxgren: Tøndermarsken

Henrik Saxgren: Tøndermarsken

05.04.19 - 27.04.2019

 

In 2015, photographer Henrik Saxgren started working on a book about Tøndermarsken, a unique biotope located in the south-west of Jutland along the Wadden Sea. For the project he teamed up with art historian and former chairman of the New Carlsberg Foundation, Hans Edvard Nørregaard-Nielsen.

 

More than twenty excursions and three years later, the book is a reality and will be launched on April 6 by Denmark’s leading publishing house, Gyldendal. On that same date, an exhibition of photographs from the book, fittingly named “Tøndermarsken”, will open at the acclaimed Tønder Museum of Art.

 

As a tribute to the project and the artist, whom the gallery represents internationally, a small selection of Henrik Saxgren’s works from the book will be exhibited in the Hans Alf Gallery project room, starting Friday April 5, alongside Louise Hindsgavl’s “Becoming Undone” in the main gallery, and continuing through April 27.

 

Saxgren’s images of Tøndermarsken almost come across as photographic meditations, which in turn allows for a new space in this otherwise flat marshland to emerge. By primarily working at dawn and in the evening twilight, Saxgren manages to open a door to a timeless world, which revolves around much more than a mere geographical location.

 

Author Peter Høgh previously wrote about Saxgren’s landscape images:

 

”Photographs are somehow doors that open inwards. To a human being or to a landscape. But a photograph does not just open inwards. A photograph opens both ways. It is a portal through which you can access the world. But the world also gains access to you. It is as if the motif penetrates you and settles in you. You cannot fend it off. It wants to tell you something and starts living in you, and so you are changed from within and from the outside.”

 

 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019 15:47

Morten Schelde: Stages

Morten Schelde: Stages

23.02.19 - 30.03.2019

 

Since the late 90's, Morten Schelde's unmistakable pencil has played a leading role on the Danish art scene. His works are held in esteemed institutions such as the National Gallery of Denmark, Arken and Louisiana, he's had numerous museum shows in Denmark and abroad, and in 2010 he was part of the elite group of artists, who decorated the Palace of Frederik VIII.

 

For the past couple of years, Schelde, who is most readily associated with intense, surreal, often monochrome drawings, has been preoccupied with painting, which became clear in his first solo show with Hans Alf Gallery, "New Paintings" in 2017. Now, however, Schelde has returned to his paper and pencils with renewed vitality, poignancy and fantasy.

 

Art historian Cecilie Marie Dalhoff from Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg writes the following about Schelde's new exhibition, Stages:

 

"In Morten Schelde’s artistic universe the medium of drawing is intended as a space for experiences and encounters. Within the frame of the artworks the stage is set for an inspiring mixture of past and present, unfolding in distinctive and personal interpretations of a life lived. Standing before one of Schelde’s visually powerful, multi-layered drawings we intuitively appreciate how the work of the hand bestows expression and meaning to the many repetitive everyday still-lifes, functioning between apparent normality and discreet catastrophe. The scenes depict a wide range of biting dichotomies as Schelde’s view on society seems to be torn between a lust for life and loss of trust, an extreme materialistic distress and a never-ending happiness materialised in Danish Modern design. The exhibition partly takes its title from these acute and well-composed stages, which unfold before us almost true to life size and seem ready for us to explore. But something is not quite as it seems at first glance. The imagery appears distorted and characteristic.

 

In his predominantly monochrome depictions of the worlds of yesterday and today Schelde finds his motives in a mixture of vast amounts of non-chronological photographic material, which he, over the course of more than 20 years, has meticulously collected and transferred repeatedly until the motives have fallen into place in the right scale. The sum of the many autobiographical works takes us from Norway to Berlin and Ghana – from the stages of early childhood to life as an established artist. The works thus represent time gone by both in method and motive. The temporal aspect of the word ‘stage’ is from this perspective just as important as the work’s theatrical qualities.

 

The visible journey of the motive makes it possible for us to trace the images as they progress; as we view the various works in the exhibition we grasp the temporality embedded in the depicted scenes and the process. In a way the deserted scenes almost resemble used movie sets or theatre stages. The visible almost seems momentary and transitory in Schelde’s works, while the rampant process preceding it is invisible if not known. In the same way as putting something on stage in the theatre is akin to putting something under the light, rendering the invisible visible, realising an artistic concept, Schelde uses his drawings to shed light on a procession of familiar and intimate everyday stages and situations. Through this he focuses on the everyday drama of modern day family life and all the untold tales of society’s present day Odysseuses as well as looking back on his own background. It is therefore characteristic of and essential for Schelde’s work that the situations do not reveal their inhabitants. Instead the empty scenes open themselves up to their audience and allow each visitor to create their own narration. The exhibition thus becomes a testament to the significance of the lived life that for most of us contains a vast accumulation of seemingly ordinary situations that Schelde encapsulates and invites us to explore anew."

 

 

 

Thursday, 14 February 2019 13:09

David Minařík: Now / No Nostalgia

David Minařík: Now / No Nostalgia

18.01.19 - 16.02.2019

 

Hans Alf Gallery kicks off 2019 with a fresh and exciting new show that insists on inhabiting the vacuum between methodical awareness and unanchored immediacy.

 

David Minařík graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2017. In December of that same year, he had a small presentation in the Hans Alf Gallery project room that ran parallel to Christian Lemmerz' "The Night is Large", but "Now / No Nostalgia" will be his first proper solo in the city, where he was trained.

 

In an age of seeming historic myopia exemplified in what has been dubbed zombie formalism (a phrase coined by artist and critic Walter Robinson), David Minařík has 20-20 vision. Instead of blindly following suit and treating his paintings, as if they were merely vessels of aesthetic whims or conceptual statements, Minařík's work harks back to a different time; an unfashionable philosophy of sensations, emotions and unmediated impressions as the primary propulsion for painterly abstraction. His icons aren't Basquiat, Stella, Schnabel or Gerhard Richter, but rather Joan Mitchell, de Kooning (both), Kandinsky and Jorn.

 

David Minařík is something as rare these days as a card-carrying abstract expressionist, who actually understands, what that moniker entails. His paintings - wildly gestural, rich with colour and often deeply pastose - are the results of an intuitive process, where the painter, like his heroes before him, attempts to translate the moment - visual impressions, smells, taste, touch, emotions, interactions or melodies - into an unwavering, visual representation of a given now, which leaves the viewer with a distinct feeling of immediacy.

 

In "Now / No Nostalgia", David Minařík tries to encompass the effervescence of the moment, while simultaneously evoking the uncertainty of the next. In his own words, tomorrow, when planning ahead, seems to us "to hold specific shapes; a certain dynamic and structure; an undeniable rhythm and perspective" - when in fact, we have no idea, what is going to happen next. Man's ability to imagine the future even though it doesn't exist, is what Minařík utilizes when creating a painting. His abstractions on the nature of the now, are decipherable exactly because we as human beings are only capable of comprehending the future in abstract terms. And thus, in a somewhat self-referential fashion, the past summons the future to understand the present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jørgen Haugen Sørensen: The Innocent Guilty

30.11.18 - 12.01.2019

 

“I see myself as someone, who’s on the outside looking in, devoid of any beliefs in anything. Our time is a time of ceaseless movement; a time of endless abuse and crime that we’re forced to witness. “The Innocent Guilty” is a metaphor for the strange situation in which we find ourselves: Financial abundance that leads to climate change on one side, and endless wars that force people to abandon their lives an go on the run on the other. We are all involuntary participants in this game, and it riddles us with a chronic sense of guilt. The impetus of our progress, that certain force which has been our propulsion, has also left us behind, shuffling around aimlessly in groups of “innocent guilty”.”

 

In a time, where the visual arts are often accused of being both toothless, politically correct and timid, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen is an unwavering beacon of pessimism. Few other Danish artists have insisted as fervently on opposing the power elite, notions of good taste and the bourgeoisie – even if at times it would have undoubtedly been wiser to hold his peace.

 

For Haugen Sørensen it is a core duty, an intrinsic condition of being an artist, that you call out injustice and defend the defenceless. What he experiences around him, the sickly tendencies he believes to see, simply must be disseminated and communicated in the materials and with the language, which he masters. And for this reason alone, through seven decades now, the legendary sculptor has chipped, hammered, knead, shaped, pulled, stretched and drawn his way out of his own existential reflections and into both Danish art history and our collective conscience.

 

This new exhibition, which is the sculptor’s fourth with Hans Alf Gallery – probably some kind of record for the short-tempered working-class kid – is no exception to the rule that Haugen Sørensen never shies away from a fight. The works – a combination of imposing, black sculptures and gauzy white ceramic reliefs – with titles such as “The Unneeded”, “Random Justice” and “Why”, tell the tale of a world that is falling apart; a return to the uncivilized, naked, original man, who in all his uncomfortable immediacy mirrors his inner wildness in his exterior.

 

As Haugen Sørensen himself puts it, he has once again “discovered a new way of modelling”. And this technique, in which the traces of his fingers are visible everywhere, and the genesis itself is so apparent, is somehow Haugen Sørensen’s own way of mobilizing his inner savage; the animal within. The works, which already seek to voice a certain brutality, also bear the remnants of the artistic process in a peculiar, temporal manner that we rarely see in a sculpture, as it almost always takes the form of a movement frozen in time. Because of this additional dimension, Haugen Sørensen’s new works become dialectic: The artist shapes the material in reference to the world around him, but at the same time the artwork points back to the artist, his physique, his movements and his existence. Object and creator somehow become inseparable. And for an artist, this is probably the finest thing, you can achieve.

 

“The Innocent Guilty” marks Jørgen Haugen Sørensen’s triumphant return to Denmark, following the enormous retrospective in his hometown of Pietrasanta in 2017, in which both the museum, the local church, the square and several smaller piazzas were used, celebrating the sculptor’s almost 50 years in the Tuscan costal town. In conjunction with the celebrations, The New Carlsberg Foundation generously donated the sculpture “La Folla / The Crowd” to Pietrasanta, where it has now found a permanent spot on the Piazza Crispi a few hundred metres from the city centre.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 10 January 2019 15:48

Morten B. Masri: Leaving Paintings

Anders SCRMN Meisner: Modern Love

30.11.18 - 21.12.2018

 

Morten B. Masri (b. 1977) is a Danish painter and sculptor, who lives and works in Copenhagen. He graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2014.

 

According to Masri, his works are concerned with “potential experiences”: That which is not, but might come to be. His paintings, often monumental in both scale and subject, seek a liminal position between Man and the world; between belief and knowledge; between cognition and fact.

 

Masri’s universe utilizes seemingly incompatible historical elements to a great extent and without shame: Ancient Greek statues are placed carelessly in the wide-bellied wooden boats of the Danish Skagen painters, as if they were all variations on “Nike of Samothrace”, familiar scenes from the most iconic paintings of the Romantic era are emulated in the foreground, and behind his towering sculptures, the skillful painter pays tribute to the main protagonists of the Color Field movement. The works bear titles such as “The Terminal Beach” – a J.G. Ballard reference – and “Heavenly Widened Roses” – a line from Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” – and quotes in the paintings themselves paraphrase everything from Brian Eno to Ekelöf.

 

Morten B. Masri revels in the fragmented and poetic; that, which was once dubbed postmodernism, but which ought more fittingly be labeled bricolage. The point of this atomization, de-hierarchization and juxtaposition of seemingly contradictory elements, is to force the viewer to see anew and thereby hopefully perceive the world differently. The individual components aren’t necessarily important to the painter; rather, they act as exemplary forms that help structure the composition of the painting. It is about provoking curiosity and facilitating contemplation through equal parts recognition and confusion. And of course, as we all know, the devil is in the detail.

 

Morten B. Masri's work has been exhibited in the Dalian Art Museum in China; at Viborg Kunsthal, Denmark; with Copenhagen's Kunsthal Charlottenborg and at Volta, Basel. In 2014 he had his first major solo with the now defunct LARM gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 26 November 2018 11:31

Next Exhibition

 

IMG 7945

 

ERIK A. FRANDSEN

THE WE-MACHINE

OPENING AUGUST 16

 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 13:52

Anders SCRMN Meisner: Modern Love

Anders SCRMN Meisner: Modern Love

27.10.18 - 24.11.2018

Everyone who has followed Anders SCRMN Meisner, since his first exhibiton with Hans Alf Gallery back in 2012, knows that his eccentric universe has been driven by a continuous investigation of the paper as a medium. In the beginning, SCRMN sketched his works on cut-out pages from obscure encyclopedias that he found in the back of old bookshops in Amsterdam. Later on, he started processing them into idiosyncratic collages on the history of Western civilization with detours into mysticism and the deeply personal.

 

In his exhibitions “The World Was Weird” and especially “Under Distant Palm Trees” his yellowing sheets were glued together to form giant “canvases” that SCRMN painted with concise and saturated gouache, akin to Matisse and more contemporary artists like Geoff Mcfetridge and fellow Dane Søren Behncke. In that sense, his trajectory towards the canvas has been unmistakable.

 

In MODERN LOVE, SCRMN takes the final leap from paper to canvas. More than two years has gone into the making of what has turned out to be 15 extremely personal, poetic and most of all eclectic works. And although art lovers and consumers alike love to draw parallels, nothing really looks or feels like SCRMN’s visual language. If he is an epigone, the model for his style is found solely in a distant parallel universe, where people are portrayed as naivistic silhouettes, the world is two-dimensional, all colors are egg-yolk-deep, and love still exists in its purest, most esoteric incarnation.

 

With his newest collection of works, SCRMN takes on the ungrateful task of portraying love from a female perspective. According to the artist himself, it is not a question of feeling the same as a woman or to pretend to understand her, but rather to meticulously and carefully describe what he sees; to approach the topic without preconceptions as a scientist relating to his material without prejudice. The intention is to capture a special strength, tenderness and complexity, which SCRMN believes to be more cultivated with the opposite sex - but, which he also acknowledges, may only exist in the eyes of the male painter.

 

Art history is rife with women posing passively without interacting with their surroundings; women who seem to be hiding very little behind a jaded gaze. In Modern Love, SCRMN seeks to remove himself from this by insisting to portray strong, confident women whose emotional lives are rich but also inaccessible to him, which gives the works an almost voyeuristic character because the subjects themselves have a tangible reluctance towards being portrayed: They live their own lives, have their own agendas and aren’t easily solicited by the universe of the viewer. The women in SCRMN’s paintings are peripheral acquaintances, people the artist has met in passing or simply strangers.

 

Modern Love is hence also the story of a man, looking at a woman, looking at a man (or another woman or looking away). And because of this, SCRMN is aware of the inherent impossibility in his original project: Best case scenario is, he catches a splinter of something real / Worst case, he sees nothing but his own reflection.

 

Nonetheless, the resulting show is an extremely interesting testimony to love and longing in the 21st Century. Rewriting the old proverb, one could say that “the operation failed but the patient survived”. For the works in MODERN LOVE are alive, and with this exhibition SCRMN demonstrates that he has taken another quantum leap in an already promising career.

 

 

 

 

 

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