Date: 24 November 2009 08:00 - 24 January 2010 09:30
Location: Birmingham

Shocked into Abstraction

Matias Falbakken will be exhibiting at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.

Ikon Gallery in Birmingham hosts the first major UK exhibition by Norwegian artist and writer, Matias Faldbakken, whose works explore the themes of negation, erasure and rebellion.

Faldbakken’s works, which will be presented at the exhibiton ‘Shocked into Abstraction’, use a language that borrows heavily from underground and youth sub-cultures as well as canonical works of avant-garde art practice. “To me, Shocked into Abstraction is sort of like an absurdist play without exit: It’s this big production that is all about holding back, about being almost non-productive,” he says.

Ikon’s galleries will be filled with graffiti, heavy metal references, fetishistic videos and a burnt-out car. These large-scale, often visually spectacular works nevertheless give a sense of having been ‘emptied out’, becoming somehow clichéd or absurd in their pretensions.

Faldbakken’s work reveals a profound ambivalence towards both authority and rebellion. They are revealed as two sides of the same coin; his work exposes the processes by which criticism is turned against itself, becoming absorbed by the subject of its critique. Questions of authenticity and representation are raised in works such as ‘Away from Sound’ (2005), a display of 24 Marshall guitar amp dummies creating a paradoxically silent wall of sound. The relationship between language and representation underlies much of the artist’s production, where writing is erased, made illegible, or rearranged, while works such as ‘Dumb Object’ (2006) deal with the erasure of the very spaces that might give rise to language. ‘Cultural Department’ (2006), ostensibly a Jackson Pollock-style example of abstract expressionism, is actually a reconstruction of vandalism of the Palestinian Cultural Department by Israeli soldiers in 2002.

Further works represent communication systems or carriers of information that have been muted or rendered mute. ‘Untitled’ (Video Sculpture, 2005), for example, consists of a pole raggedly festooned with videotape to mimic roadside installations made by Taliban authorities in Kabul to celebrate the censorship of Western film and television. An attempt to suppress a spectacularised Western media becomes itself a spectacular image.

Matias Faldbakken
Shocked into Abstraction
25 November – 24 January 2010

Ikon Gallery
1 Oozells Square
Birmingham B1 2HS

Tuesday – Sunday, 11am - 6pm
Admission is free

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