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Martin Erik Andersen galleri susanne ottesen.

The work of Martin Erik Andersen makes material and spatial schemas flip and multiply. His latest solo show, "from the source of a river to its mouth--with usura the line grows thick," whose title derives from Ezra Pound's 1937 Canto XLV, drew on morphologies of construction (concrete, steel tubes, silicone) and decoration (plants, shells, homespun fabrics), with light (UV, LED, disco) added to the mix, as well as sound, in the form of a bootleg recording of a live concert by Throbbing Gristle that played intermittently in the gallery. The distorted, spectral tune perfectly articulated the double materiality of sound that straddles actuality and virtuality. The title of the main installation of the exhibition, Scaffolding (from a Corruptible to an Incorruptible Crown--Civilization of Discontent), 2011, quotes the last words of Charles I of England before his execution and echoes Freud and Shakespeare to comment on structures by which power was manifested historically. Beside some bamboo scaffolding, a bedlike frame on the floor evoked the psychoanalyst's couch, reminding us how Freud, by asking his patients to lie down while looking up, destabilized their visual command of space. Andersen employs a similar tilting of parameters to create in-between spaces that rewire immediate physical reality as well as cultural sensibilities. The function of the scaffolding, for instance, is that of a space that supports other spaces, and the bamboo it is made of is a non-Western marker. This meditation on the frail and provisory logic of form, improvised forth in everyday materials, ultimately seems to confront art's cultural status as something ostensibly transcendental or "incorruptible."

The floor object Equalizer, 2011, consists of two concrete casts of cardboard boxes connected by armed steel rods. It looks like something that might have fallen off a Neolithic StairMaster. The piece recalls seminal works from the 1960s, such as Bruce Nauman's A Cast of the Space Under My Chair, 1965-68, Joseph Beuys's Fat Chair, 1964, and the "sculptural demonstrations" of Danish artist Bjorn Norgaard. As usual with Andersen's work, the resulting object is mute yet hermeneutically powerful, as it resists an unequivocal reading.

The production of space is open and manifold in Andersen's work, but at the same time it often closes in on canonical reference and the autobiographical body. In the object Achilleusy 2011, a cast of the artist's foot refers to the Greek myth about a hero's vulnerability; and in In Order to Do Good (Acoustic), 2010, the diminished likeness of the artist, reproduced in a deliberately rough three-dimensional print, strikes a contrapposto pose--classically exemplifying how surface becomes space. These works are dialogues with the roots of sculpture as an index of the human body; but they also provoke questions of how to mediate between historically and culturally specific constructions of gender, subjectivity, and representation. Andersen's work is usually more concerned with sculptural poetics and historical perspective than with cultural analysis, however.

Overall, "from the source of a river to its mouth" was an eloquent testimony to how sculpture extends to other spaces, materialities, and epistemologies--often via a literary sensibility. Through the elements in this rich exhibition, Andersen seemed to be searching for a kind of sculptural mana, nothing less: a kind of power that doesn't reside in any one realm or substance but gets its force from moving between them all.

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Title Annotation:Copenhagen
Author:Larsen, Lars Bang
Publication:Artforum International
Geographic Code:4EUDE
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:549
Previous Article:Mads Gamdrup Christian Larsen gallery.
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