Helsinki Contemporary has the pleasure of ending its Spring season with an exhibition of new paintings by the Danish artist John Kørner 1 June–8 July. Simultaneously to the gallery show Space Train, Kørner’s installation can be seen at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art until 29 July 2018.
John Kørner is one of the leading figures on the Danish contemporary art scene. Current political and social questions and especially the notion of the ‘problem’ are central for his work. ‘Problems’ represent the inconvenient and the difficult and they are not just something that happens to us, but something that we have a hand in. Kørner has materialised ’problems’ as a series of egg-shaped sculptures, and they are also reoccurring in his paintings. Parallel to his paintings the artist works with extensive installations and sculpture. Often the paintings are incorporated in the spatial elements where theatre and performance add to the experience in which the viewer takes centre stage.
In his show at Helsinki Contemporary Kørner will focus on a series of new paintings in which he has explored a world beyond ours. We are presented with vistas of outer space and planets. In some cases a glimpse of the earth reveals the viewpoint, but in others the artists leaves the position unclear. The motif might just be from a different reality; a space that we do not know exists.
The figures in the paintings are in motion. They are moving towards – or running away from – some undefined place or space, or taking a step from one state to another. Figures on the move are key for Kørner’s paintings. Moving is part of the essence of being human, it is in the end how we grasp our surroundings and our own reality.
What is examined in the new paintings is the perspective of the outsider. Kørner approaches a universal dilemma: who is watching and what? How do we meet the unknown and how do we cope with things that are unfamiliar? The artists doesn’t give us answers, instead leaves us to contemplate.
Kørner’s signature light and painterly brush is present in the new work. He often creates his motifs in just a few strokes, balancing on the borderline between the figurative and the abstract. In some of the new works this recognisable airy style is combined with a more intense use of paint in abstract compositions that bring to mind a starry sky.
John Kørner (b. 1967 Aarhus, Denmark) lives and works in Copenhagen. He has exhibited widely in Denmark and Europe with solo shows at Museum Dhont-Dhaenens, Belgium; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus. His works have been part of group exhibitions at e.g. Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj. He is represented in collections such as ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Arken Museum of Modern art, National Gallery of Denmark, Tate Gallery and The Saatchi Collection. His exhibition Tripoli-Lampedusa is open at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art until 29 July 2018.