This summer, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf presents the new series of works Rose Painting (2018) by the Norwegian-German sculptor Yngve Holen (*1982 in Braunschweig, lives and works in Berlin) in the two-week solo exhibition HORSES.
Together with the Japanese photographer Satoshi Fujiwara (*1984 in Kobe, Japan, lives and works in Berlin), Holen has produced an artist’s book for the exhibition. In it, Holen and Fujiwara, who is known for his extreme closeups and sensitivity to structures, combine their interest in surfaces and appearances. An image by Fujiwara is also used for the banner advertising the exhibition on the exterior of the Kunsthalle.
In his sculptural works, Holen analyzes the relationship between the design and function of objects, and therein their associated value generation and fetishization. By depriving everyday products of industry and technology of their original function, altering them, and translating them into the context of art, the artist simultaneously poses questions about industrial production, current technical developments, and mechanized procedures. He examines objects and designs and their relationship to individual constructions of status and power structures.
The starting point of the series Rose Painting is the rims of five different SUV models. Their isolated cores were 3D scanned, scaled to a diameter of two meters, and milled in cross-laminated timber. The shift in size and change of materials, from aluminum to wood, makes the works recall the wagon wheels of historical horse-drawn carriages or stagecoaches. In their deliberate non-functionality, they particularly emphasize the ornamental quality and point to an entire spectrum of concentrically designed elements, from the rose painting style to the Gothic rose window.
The wooden rims will change and discolor over time, as the material, with its natural properties and production-related milling marks and cracks, reacts to external influences such as temperature, sun, and humidity. If wood as a material is associated with aspects of craftsmanship, Holen’s rims reflect the use of modern-day, multi-stage, computer-controlled processes.
Holen’s choice of industrial cross-laminated timber can be understood as a commentary on the boom in the use of this material in the name of environmentally-conscious behavior and naturalness, thus pointing to a contemporary taste that is oriented toward tradition.
The purchase of an SUV, on the other hand, seems less about rational choices or an ethos of sustainability than about emotions and prestige, the simulation of freedom. Yet the environmentally questionable design of SUVs contrasts with any ecological optimization of vehicles in terms of consumption, emissions, and sustainability of production. Pedestrians and other drivers are also at higher risk against SUVs, for the sake of taste and convenience.
Following the exhibitions of works from the Rose Painting series at Galerie Neu during Gallery Weekend 2018 in Berlin and later in Milan at Converso, in the former church of San Paolo Converso, all twenty works will be shown at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf for the first and only time. As a recall, the presentation poses questions about seriality as well as art as a product. The act of collecting can be interpreted as a protective action that entails a clear aspect of control.
Curated by Dana Bergmann