On Friday 9 October, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard will be opening the group exhibition Adam, Andy, Alexander… in the gallery’s east-facing room. The exhibition is the last of the two curated by Anna Margrethe Pedersen and Bibi Saugman, showing portrayals of woman and man, respectively, in art over the past 50 years. In Adam, Andy, Alexander... it is the man as motif that is in focus, and the exhibition presents paintings, drawings and two video installations, plus, on the opening night, a performance by Olof Olsson.
In the first room of the exhibition we encounter AK Dolven’s intimate and private video work, What can I do for you? (2007), in which we see a pair of female hands caressing a man’s naked body – an apparently erotic scene which is quickly turned on its head when we discover that they are the artist’s own hands, washing and caring for her seriously ill husband on his sickbed.
In the same room are two watercolour paintings in miniature format by the American artist Ellen Altfest, Untitled (Checkered shirts) and Untitled (Blue Jean Shirts), consisting of two close-ups of a shirt sleeve with a man’s arm. The skin and hair are very detailed in reproduction, and the format invites the viewer to get even closer. Perhaps too close.
The same applies to Poul Gernes’ ‘Rear View’ from 1969. Here a bottom has been immortalised with a photocopier and pasted onto a 122 x 122 cm masonite slab. In your face – did you get it all? At one and the same time private and anonymous.
Humour and everyday practical aesthetics are also visible in Sonja Lillebæk Christensen’s video work Mad about the Boy (2007), which is displayed on four screens. A number of YouTube clips of unnamed men performing the dance Hardcore have been edited into a loving film about ‘the boy’.
Per Inge Bjørlo and Georg Baselitz have each separately contributed a couple of raw and merciless self-portraits to the exhibition: self-portraits that seemed asexualised and alienated due to the cruelty of the charcoal line (Bjørlo) and the abrupt ‘incisions’ in the paper that cut and lacerate the male body beyond recognition (Baselitz).
The intention of the exhibition Eva, Pamela, Victoria ... followed by Adam, Andy, Alexander ... has not been to present a gender agenda. The aim has rather been to reveal some small glimpses, a shimmering snapshot, of man and woman, on the basis of works by some of the artists the gallery works with. The cuts, choices and rejections that have been made are grounded in formal and content-related “couplings” that we have found interesting, across generations and themes.
The possibility that this may still catch up with us, and the two exhibitions end up presenting a ‘classic’ man/woman dichotomy, in which the woman is the passive spectator who is observed, while the man does and acts, can by no means be rejected, as Maria Kjær Themsen points out in the accompanying catalogue text. With the interesting juxtapositions we have conducted, we probably confirm and reproduce a very old gaze in the exhibitions. We keep on the very spectacles that we initially seek to reject. Perhaps this soul-searching may serve as an admission ticket for the individual viewer in the encounter with the many men and women at the exhibitions.
All are welcome to attend the opening reception on Friday 9 October from 5.00-8.00 pm, with a performance by Olof Olsson at 6:00 pm. For further information, and to obtain photographic material from Adam, Andy, Alexander…, please contact Bibi Saugman by e-mail at [email protected] or tel. +45 5196 5096.