April 20 - June 17, 2023
Originals (Grisaille) / Evening Drawings
Originals (Grisaille)/Evening Drawings
With this exhibition, LMNO is pleased to present a new collaboration with Norwegian artist Dag Erik Elgin (1962, Oslo). Originals (Grisaille)/Evening Drawings brings two distinct groups of work by Dag Erik Elgin into dialogue. The series Originals consist of re-painted renditions of iconic modernist paintings, subsequently repeated as Grisailles, grey-tone copies of the Originals. Echoes of the echo, so to speak.
The Evening Drawings (1996-2023) on the other hand, are sober line drawings of domestic surroundings that, unlike the Originals, were created within the artist's own home and, as the title suggests, outside office (or studio) hours.
As such, the Originals and their Grisaille counterparts can be said to be "official" copies acknowledging the word?s shared etymology with "office," a compound of the Latin opus and facere: "to do" and "to work", produced in the place of artistic work, the studio. The Evening Drawings, on the other hand, blur the distinction between the productive space of the studio and traditionally unproductive space of the home, revealing perhaps the artist as the exemplary worker in an increasingly speculative economy in which every site has the potential to «do work» ? i.e. to become official. Their happenstance likeness to the snapshots one might find posted on Instagram seem to speak to this very point (Elgin has played on this ambiguity by, for 100 uninterrupted days, publishing one of the drawings onto his Instagram profile), although it should be mentioned that the series was conceived long before the technosphere?s wholesale erosion of the boundaries between the official and the private, and between work and the social.
Rather than simply identifying with this indistinction, however, Elgin's works confound all notions of even speculative productivity by remaining in the artist's private collection rather than being offered for sale. Is time spent in the studio productive if the objects produced there are refused exchange value? Only the Grisailles ? the echoes of the echo ? and the works created outside the productive frame of the studio, the Evening Drawings, enter into market circulation.
Different modes of production aside, Elgin?s two series both attest to similar modes of perception. Brought together, no distinction is made between an electrical socket or a painting by Picasso, sorting the clutter of everyday life and iconic paintings into the same visual index. At first glance, Elgin?s work in the laborious sense presents itself as a kind of enumeration of the visible, disinterested and mechanical in its indiscriminate indexing, reflecting the only possibility afforded by a postmodern condition where, according to
Frederic Jameson, «all that is left is to itemise the events of our daily life, to list the items that come by.»
Yet Elgin?s Originals are no carbon copies, and anyone familiar with the works of Picasso would immediately recognise Originals (Picasso Gue?ridon) for what it is; a peculiar reenactment. Their visual cipher is not the trompe- l'?il or the forgery. Nor are the Originals still lives, as it would be unconceivable to find the painted shadow of an impasto in Elgin's motives. Rather, they are generative maps through which the artist explores the counterfactualities or, as one might call them, the impotentialities of the repeated originals; made possible by re-performing the original paintings as if they were scores of music.
And shadows are precisely those which are absent in the line-rendered domestic sphere of the Evening Drawings, unveiling them, like the Originals, to be cartographic explorations, not of the internality of modernist masterpieces, but the hallucinatory fluidity between home and studio, work and play.
Dag Erik Elgin?s (1962) work is informed by an ongoing investigation into the history of painting, modernist ideals and contemporary visual culture. He is concerned with establishing a practice where the specific physical qualities of painting, historical analysis and personal production are constantly negotiated. In projects like Museum Work, Originals and La Collection Moderne, text based works and repetitive strategies are introduced as catalysts for exploring modernism's ongoing affair with current cultural and aesthetics representations. He has exhibited at venues like Albertinum, Dresden, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, The National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Henie Onstad Art Centre, Høvikodden, The Vigeland Museum Oslo and Kunst-Werke Berlin. Elgin was professor at The Art Academy, Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO) 2010-2016 and was awarded the Carnegie Art Award in 2014.