Flight patterns in the age of nonsense

09.02 — 03.03.2018

“The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” - Pablo Picasso

It is not proven this quote is attributed to Picasso. However, there are hundreds of pictures with said quote on the Internet with no source. Interestingly, another version exists that shifts the political reading to a more general philosophical statement: “Reality doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” Kenneth Alme's new exhibition can be understood as an investigation of possibilities between these quotes.

The show presents us with several new paintings. Different in size, but share the same key elements from previous works: a predominant abstract language, an avocado tree, the naked eye and bold squares that structure the compositions. Brushstrokes hint towards movement, almost framing the canvas with repeating sneering and encircling shapes. The colours are sparse, mostly black and a burgundy red paint applied on linen and cotton canvas. These paintings are combined with a series of small video projections displaying a looped video. The projectors stand on block elements made of plaster and cardboard boxes taped together. Among this, we discover one of Alme's central motifs: the longing for unspoiled nature- present in the projection of a bird landing and taking off from a stick.

While his practice can be described as poetic self-reflection or a meditation on the production and perception of art in general, the exhibition title indicates a new urgency regarding the present. It would be a mistake to read it as insecurity over the relevance of painting today. The show instead insists on the importance of poetry. Despite the risk of exploitation by populist agendas, voices grow demanding for less complex artistic practice. Therefore, Kenneth Alme suggests that is in fact ambiguity, obscurity and intuition that still trumps a superficial and pseudo-rational production of meaning.

Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don't they try to understand the song of the birds? - Pablo Picasso, As quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008

- Yves-Michele Sass

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