Jack GOLDSTEIN (Canada) Michael SAILSTORFER (Germany) Josh SMITH (USA) Raul DE NIEVES (Mexico) Ryan TRECARTIN/ Lizzie FITCH (USA) Erik LINDMAN (Sweden/USA) Oscar TUAZON (USA) Michel MAJERUS (Luxemburg) Basim MAGDY (Egypt) Jason McLEAN (Canada) Merlin CARPENTER (England) Ryszard WARSINSKI (Poland) Johannes WOHNSEIFER (Germany) Sergej JENSEN (Denmark) Mikael BRKIC (Norway) Roman LISKA (Germany) John HENDERSON (USA) Yorgos SAPOUNTZIS (Greece) Alex HUBBARD (USA) Reza BANGIZ (Iran) Gardar EIDE EINARSSON (Norway) Paul KNEALE (Canada) Ole Jørgen NESS (Norway) Chris JOHANSON (USA) Ida EKBLAD (Norway) Chris SUCCO (Germany) Eirik SENJE (Norway) Nadine BYRNE (Sweden) Paulo NIMER PJOTA (Brasil) Daniel LERGON (Germany) Josefine LYCHE (Norway) Beto SHWAFATY (Brasil) Shane BRADFORD (England) Slawomir PAWSZAK (Poland) Maximilian ARNOLD (Germany) Dominik LEJMAN (Poland) DEARRAINDROP (USA) Henrik Olai KAARSTEIN (Norway) Angela DE LA CRUZ (Spain)
About PAINTING |OR| NOT
We find ourselves at a time where no single authority can set the rules for painting, nor can any one artist claim to hold the definition of what makes something a painting – or not. All the same, these are the questions that form the basis for the exhibition ‘PAINTING | OR | NOT’, which brings together 39 artists from across the world. Rather than attempting to arrive at definite answers or conclusions, the KaviarFactory instead becomes a space for contemplation and discussion.
Wandering through the gallery spaces, where works are hung without any rigid sense of system or hierarchy, the audience are invited to stop and ask the same question in front of each work. Is this a painting? If yes, then why? And if not, then what is it? What else would it need to have in order to become a painting?
Many, but not all, of the artworks in this show are painted. But what did the artist paint onto? A pair of shoes? A book? Some works have paint on them, but the paint was not necessarily applied by the artist. And if it wasn’t, is the artist still a painter? Some works may look like paintings, but up close we see that it is not done with paint, but materials such as lacquer or wax. If a material is used instead of paint, could one say that the artist has painted with it?
In the 30 000 years that have passed since stone age hunter gatherers started using pigment and charcoal to depict animals on their cave walls, one should think that we would have arrived at a fairly clear concept of what a painting is – and what it isn’t. In much of the time that has passed since then and now, painting was seen first and foremost as a science, where constant improvements in material, technique and composition led to ever more lifelike images.
Thanks to technical breakthroughs such as linear perspective and improved colours, the gap between reality and a painting seemed to grow ever smaller. Then, one day, photography was invented. When the first grainy Daguerrotypes saw the light of day in the early 1800s, painters soon understood that the job of depicting reality was no longer theirs – the camera would eventually be able to do it quicker, cheaper and better. They still wanted to paint however, but now they were painting for the sake of painting.
An explosion of creativity followed. From the Impressionists in the 1800s to the Abstract Expressionists in the mid 1900s, each artist were doing his or her bit to explore what a painting could be. Typically, the artists came first, whilst art theory came after. The definition of what constituted a painting was repeatedly having to catch up with whatever artists were making at the time.
With works dating from the 1960s to the present day, the artists in this show has benefitted not only from the quest for technical perfection that marked the 19th and earlier centuries, but also from the spirit of experimentation that took place in the 20th and 21st century. Knowing full well that they will never be called upon to set the terms for art and artists in general, they instead explore the elements of their own personal practice. In the process, each artist has developed a strictly personal style and method in order to arrive at a truly unique painting. Or not.