The Pit is pleased to announce An Erik Frydenborg Omnibus, the inaugural exhibition of The Pit II.
In An Erik Frydenborg Omnibus, the artist presents a new quartet of cryptic, human-scaled structures, loosely resembling oversized science fiction paperbacks. They pair arcane facial forms with vivid, landscape-adorned monoliths.
Playing on the notion of mass market paperback design as a pastiche of modernist styles, the sculptures also imagine books themselves as memorialized objects. These works enshrine the traits of postwar sci-fi cover illustration—manifold combinations of the primitive and the futuristic, of the classical and the surreal—while conceiving of the actual book as an impenetrable enigma.
Both pictorial and dimensional, the works are dioramic hybrids of sculpture and painting. Symmetry and simple geometry are incorporated in their designs. Standing and hanging plinths function as backdrops for orphic faces, whose presence in the third dimension feels contingent, in the manner of archaic votive statuary or masks. But instead of mimicking the reduced color of weathered relics, these works employ the bright polychrome common to ancient sculpture at its inception.
Both these facial forms and their backdrops are sculptural interpretations of small paper collages. Their speckled complexions are translations of halftone, enlarged from offset-printed source material—detailed drawings of machines, human anatomy, and geologic formations, mined in fragments from vintage encyclopedias and textbooks. On the sculptures, these facsimiles of graphic patterns overlay painted surfaces of wood and plastic, approximating richly saturated color illustrations.
These works position abstraction as a kind of encryption. Their source components are objective images that have been broken into bits, salvaged and reconstructed as subjective composites. With these origins in collage, the sculptures are unified models of scrambled information, camouflaged through reassembly and rendering. While appearing alien, or obscurely ceremonial, their constituent parts are in fact derived from concrete, terrestrial rudiments.
And while the sculptures read as fantasy concoctions, they’re further anchored in reality via photographic reproductions of actual bookmarks, culled from Frydenborg’s home library. Printed on synthetic fabrics from scanned pieces of ephemera (boarding passes, supermarket receipts, parking tickets, etc.) these enlarged scraps are draped on and around the sculptures, like towels hung over doors to dry. Exaggerated bits of common flotsam, they disrupt the otherwise hermetic narrative suggestion of the assemblages. Like actual bookmarks, they introduce stoppages in the imaginary zones of the work, functioning like commercial interruptions.
These sculptures visualize the polymorphous fantasies of a conjectured civilization. They are hyperbolic monuments—fictional dedications to a lost or somehow distant culture and its knowledge.
Erik Frydenborg received a BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and an MFA from the University of Southern California. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, Flash Art, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Frydenborg’s work recently appeared in the solo exhibition Nebula Winners at Andrew Rafacz, Chicago, as well as in group exhibitions at Team Gallery, New York, M+B, Los Angeles, and Shanaynay, Paris. An Erik Frydenborg Omnibus marks Frydenborg’s first solo exhibition in his home city of Los Angeles since 2011.
A Risograph printed publication will accompany the exhibition, designed by the artist in collaboration with The Pit and including newly commissioned writing by Sam Davis.