Press release// John Kørner: Blue Bedroom
10 February – 1 April 2017
From February 10 visual artist John Kørner (b. 1967) presents a site specific installation at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in the old Meat Packing District in Copenhagen. The exhibition titled Blue Bedroom is Kørner’s second solo exhibition in the gallery.
The fulcrum point of Blue Bedroom is a gigantic installation that takes in the gallery’s three west facing exhibition rooms: a wave that slowly rises throughout the space and finally breaks in the last room. As always, Kørner’s impetus is grounded in current affairs. Paintings and sculptures that thematically circle around the water and destinies that float in and on the ocean. The spectator is met by coldness and a dormitory with open windows and curtains fluttering in the cold winter breeze. The Sandman’s universe itches a bit and is not easily situated between dream and reality.
In the exhibition catalogue editor-in-chief at Art Review Mark Rappolt raises the question:
So, what does it mean to introduce a bed, not to be used – not our bed, not anyone’s bed – into the space of an exhibition, in which, on a good day, the viewer is expected to be an active participant, rather than a passive one (for, presumably, the artist is not assuming the experience of his paintings to be so soporific as to require the provision of sleeping facilities)? Placed in a gallery, in which, if we dream at all, we dream in a conscious fashion, the bedroom as a sleeping facility is something that is at once asserted and denied. The bedroom-ness of this space is a set-up, a manipulation, an illusion, but an insistent presence, a fact even, nonetheless. And the problem of living (or sleeping) together is the root of the problem of politics and social engagement itself. And John Kørner’s art is nothing if not social.
John Kørner is a visual artist who takes being a contemporary artist literally. In his paintings Kørner thus embraces current concerns such as sex trafficking (Women for Sale, 2011) and war (War Problems, 2008). Most often, the examined topics open questions about our way of life and living conditions, be it societal groupings, youth and drinking culture or the Western world's means of production – the factory and the family as (re)production units.
“Problems” is a recurring theme in Kørner’s work. This might seem a vague formulation, since the term “problem” covers a range from contentious issues to a concept’s or a simple object’s existence in the world. At the same time, the problem itself becomes art's raison d'être. The role of art is to ask questions, and consequently the work's function is to raise problems, making the artist a kind of ‘problematiser’.
John Kørner works in various media, including painting, graphics, sculpture and installation. He has undertaken several decorating commissions, including the mural Afghanistan for Frederik VIII's Palace at Amalienborg and most recently a 36 metres long mural Panorama for the State Prison at Nordfalster. Nationally, Kørner’s works are found at the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum and the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen. In addition, his works are represented in international collections including the Rubell Family Collection in Miami and the Tate Gallery and Saatchi Collection in London