Channeling Midcentury Modernism, A Danish Artist Offers a Contemporary Take on the Old Avant-Garde
As a child growing up in the Danish middle class in the 1980s,
That is to say, Carl intuited the concept of creative
Carl appropriates everyday objects and avant-garde ideas. In his “Calculated Optimism” series, he anodizes the titanium cases of Apple laptops, yielding colorful and organic abstract paintings over and around the Mac logo. Carl also anodizes sheets of titanium to create metallic color fields. He punctuates many of these works with industrial markings, such as numbers and brand-style stamps; in doing so, he invokes Duchamp, who signed Fountain as “R. Mutt,” sometimes thought to be an homage to the Mott iron factory where he got his materials.
Carl’s work CECI N’EST PAS (2012) is a neon sign featuring the same words, written in the same font as the one used insurrealist work The Treachery of Images (1929) (in which he makes the fundamental modernist argument that a painting of a pipe is not a pipe). Carl’s Ceci, in turn, shows that an idea is never quite the same as the one to which it alludes. His works fall into what he has described as “a peculiar mixture of linear and cyclic time,” and he sums it up best, explaining that “as an artist you can keep creating new meaning even though everything has already been done several times over.”