Curated by Kuang Wei & Emilie H. Kuang
09.29 -11.17, 2018
Tang Contemporary Art is delighted to present the opening of Michael Kvium’s solo exhibition “Art Me”. The exhibition features a broad spectrum of Kvium’s artistic phases dating back to the 1990s and leading up to his recent body of work.
Working primarily with oil painting Kvium often incorporates large-scale installations into his series of artworks. His bizarre characters are usually portrayed through distortion and ridicule. This presence of contrasts has its effect on the viewer’s perception: Kvium’s works are often life-sized, therefore prompting and indulging the viewer into reflecting on one’s identification of the self in relation to the artwork. Having deployed a range of forms of artistic expression, such as drawing, graphics, video, performance art and painting, Kvium refers to various murky aspects of humanity. His practice emerges from a sustained enquiry into the connection between one’s association with their surroundings and mind-object interrelation.
“Art Me” is intended as a thought-provoking experience concerning a range of issues. Androgynous and deformed figures suggest their physicality that is always interposed between life and death. The themes of grotesque and repulsive nature of human beings continue in his latest works. In his installation series “Contemporary Fools”, the artist used metal and silicon to create objects tracing the imprint of the human hand. “A Dancing Show”, depicting ballerinas holding little puppets, evokes metaphysical sense of hideousness, simultaneously acquiring dark connotations.
The genesis of this new exhibition stems from Kvium’s long-standing interest in theatre – his use of curtains can be seen in a number of his paintings. Known as one of the established artists in Denmark nowadays, Michael Kvium made his breakthrough on the art scene in the 1980s and created the performance group Værst (“Worst”) with Christian Lemmerz. Another inspiration takes root in Baroque paintings: Francisco de Zurbaran had an enormous influence on the Danish artist. Death is one of the constant elements in Kvium’s work that provides a dystopian discourse on modern society. Characterised by figurative expression, these works demonstrate mankind’s fascination with the cruel and the uncanny.
According to the artist, “humans tend to always move away from the uncomfortable. There is a great danger in avoiding discomfort and I find it interesting to explore this discomfort – it must be there for a reason. It must contain some kind of honesty, which we should take seriously”.
Michael Kvium (b. 1955) is a Danish artist. In recent years, his signature media has been painting. Kvium has also done stage design for the theatre and has exhibited all over the world. In 2001 he was the recipient of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art’s prestigious Eckersberg Medal.
In 1981, together with Erik A. Frandsen and Christian Lemmerz, he was one of the cofounders of Værkstedet Værst, a collaborative workshop for performance art. From the 1980s, his works include virus-like shapes as part of the growth cycles. Works from the 1990s also include bandaged figures depicting paralysis and claustrophobia. Solo exhibitions at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (2006) and Ordrupgaard (2007) have included large works evoking relationships with the landscape and nature. His works also include videos, comic strips and performances. He has created stage sets in collaboration with Katrine Wiedemann. Together with Christian Lemmerz, in 2000 he created an eight-hour-long silent film titled “The Wake” inspired by James Joyce's Finnegan’s Wake.
Kvium's works are included in the collections of many of Denmark's museums and galleries.
Kuang Wei & Emilie H. Kuang
Kuang Wei is graduated from the stream of Visual Arts at the Danish Design School. Since 2006, he has worked as art director for Faurschou Foundation, Red Brick Museum, and Star Foundation respectively. Emilie H. Kuang currently studying Art History at the Aarhus University in Denmark.
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