Photos: David Stjernholm
Martin Asbæk Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Sofie Bird Møller. CUT! features reshaped paintings along with an intervention into the architecture of the gallery made by lines of paint that cut through the rooms.
In the new works Sofie Bird Møller manipulates her own strokes of paint. She fragments the organic waves of color, demanding that the viewer behold the artwork for a few seconds or minutes longer than usual. With this technique, Bird Møller will "prolong" our gaze, as she puts it.
The natural brush stroke has been amputated, cut off and moved, thereby strictly controlling each drop of paint. The surgical precision thus suspends the intensity and randomness which usually defines abstract painting, turning the works into compositions that play on timelessness rather than immediacy.
Over the years, Sofie Bird Møller has created her own recognizable style of collages consisting of painting on found objects, from a vintage Bible to magazines and advertisements. In one instance, the bodies of various glamourous women in advertisements have been covered with paint, disfigured and reshaped by the artist.
These previously manipulative images, i.e. images in which "perfect", retouched women reinforce problematic body ideals for the sole purpose of selling a product, are counter-manipulated in an activist manner by Bird Møller through violent, expressive interventions.
In the new works she incorporates old postcards, while both appropriation and manipulation gain yet another layer due to the plundering and vandalization of her own paintings. The brush stroke, formerly a spontaneous gesture, is objectified and fragmented, with the artist rearranging the parts until the work possesses a collagelike expression.
As with the over-painted advertisements, the modified paintings urge additional attention. The prefabricated paint strokes are cut in neutral forms in order to refrain from signaling anything other than just being deliberate interventions, which then begs the burning question as to why this particular part of the painting has been selected. Ideas of either elimination or emphasis collide, as the fate of the relocated piece oscillates between the two extremes. This approach induces a certain aura, because it leaves an absence; a missing piece of the puzzle. Like a vacuum that insists on disappearing, this minor displacement produces enormous tension and longing. The decoding of the painting is impeded, and the disjointed character of the work makes it possible to retain the viewer's gaze for a moment longer.