Peter Lav Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of plumbing, Morten Andenæs’ first exhibition in Denmark.
Plumbing could designate the lofty task of probing deep down into the farthest reaches of a soul or a given subject matter. It could also, on a lighter note, refer to our intestines. Rather than relate specifically to either of these two senses of the word, the title of the show points towards the seemingly superfluous compulsion to make explicit that which is painfully obvious; in this case, the pipes lining the ceiling and protruding from the walls of the gallery-space.
In contrast to the plumbing which seamlessly disposes of our waste and allows us to forget about it, the images and titles in this exhibition turn the work in on itself, bringing us back once again to our point of departure. Though stating the obvious can be seen as a ruse which diverts our attention from the undeniable truth just like a conspiracy theory, it could also be indicative of the grave desperation following the terrifying insight that the world can’t be accounted for. Should we then, in the face of ambivalence and equivalence, lament the fact that perhaps our only recourse is to plumb the surface and skirt along the edges?
Photograph of “fawn, 2009”, body and skirting are all culled from the same set of reference material. Mimicking photographs found in newspapers and on the web, in crime-scene reporting and courtroom evidence, they appear to form a coherent statement. Despite their insistence on being read narratively however, these three images never bring us the much sought-after relief of a conclusion. In a similar vein the titles, though rife with associations, bring us no release either. Instead, like the title of the show they simply reiterate what we had allready gathered, or create a kind of deadlock.
The images that make up this exhibition stem from Andenæs’ ongoing project, Re: The Middle Class. Though differing in both subject matter and technique, the works in this project all share the same deliberately ambivalent stance. Neither deferent nor invasive, the work places the viewer in a kind of grey area between rejection and affirmation. This type of gesture, often used as an unnoticeable means for instilling compliance in a given subject, paradoxically encourages autonomy as well. As an example, an analyst might assume an ambivalent stance in order to force a patient to take control over their own situation without recourse to what they think might be expected of them.