Belenius

Swedish text below

Michael Rupinis’ colourful works might be perceived as consisting of a jumble of letters or symbols, written randomly and lacking the periodic logic of how a book is read with structured lines. It signals and reminds us of the using of tags found in graffiti culture and expression – not least because of his use of airbrush technique. Indeed Rupinis’ personal style is to be understood in the context of graffiti – but as he said himself “it was never meant as graffiti, nor do I come from that tradition”. When graffiti ends up in high end galleries it ceases to be graffiti. Sophistication stands juxtaposed with the very subject of Rupini, nothing is to be refined to fit in posh standards. In his case it concerns a transcendental gesture called automatic writing wherein the hand of the artist gets to work freely over the canvas in a tradition that is above too scientific and overthought artistry. He defies institutions, museums and all exalted objects swimming against the current. The aim of others constitute the anti-thesis of him. The unlucky number 13 inspires Rupini. Advertising, social media and pretending to save the world just for show, for ones’ ego is far from his style. Punk’s not dead. Automatic writing brings back the lost purpose to once again inspire.

Rupini has been involved in fine art for a long period of time, for example participating in performances at the Venice biennale. He went through the backdoor via fine art now showcasing his new works in a different setting and at an intersection of these two. Unravelling the secret of the wordless scribbles the message is to be perceived as a spell of goodwill, as voodoo. We now understand that his scribbling is not chaotic but fixated as a charm or a spell with specific intentions. These spells are carefully woven in and above the layers of colour in the backboard. The voodoo part of it is the intersubjective longing for fixing whatever problem we might have. This wish of goodwill is a welcome counterpart to imminent doom, caused by the greed of man, climate-change and ambition instead of solidarity.

The cargo cult, a cult of seeing the messianic in cargo, found in undeveloped societies living on desolate islands inspires Rupini. A small island constitutes their whole universe, which lead to them having no conception of what fleet cargo is when it’s washed up on their shores. The expression in his using of colour and the automatic writingin the airbrush technique is similar to their natural respect and wonder of objects. The German philosopher Theodor Adorno states in his book Aesthetic Theory that “Art is a promise of happiness that is always being broken”. Perhaps the poignancy of Rupinis’ work hold the magical voodoo to prove Adorno wrong.

Text by Valter Sydén
Translation by Katarina Sjögren
January 2019

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Michael Rupinis färgstarka verk kan uppfattas som bestående av ett virrvarr bokstäver och symboler, som nedtecknats på måfå bortom ordningens strukturerade och periodiska logik. De vittnar om hur tags används i graffitikulturen och dess uttryck, inte minst genom hur han använder airbrushtekniken. Rupinis personliga stil skall förstås i en graffitikontext – men med hans egna ord ”det var aldrig menat som graffiti och jag kommer inte från den traditionen”. När graffiti visas inom finkulturella sfärer upphör det att vara graffiti. Här ska inget poleras för att passa in i de tjusiga salongerna, förfiningen står i kontrast med själva syftet hos Rupini. Här handlar det snarare om en transcendental rörelse, en automatisk skrift där konstnärens hand fritt får spelrum över duken i en tradition som vida övergår dagens vetenskapliga och intellektualiserade konstutövning. Att gå mot strömmen i dylika sammanhang är att trotsa just det, institutionerna, museerna, det upphöjda och jämna. Det vilket andra siktar mot och vill nå fungerar som antites till hans konstnärskap. Olyckstalet 13 fungerar exempelvis som inspiration för Rupini. Reklam, sociala medier och att rädda världen för syns skull blir inaktuellt eftersom man ändå inte kan lasta honom för den typen av egocentrerat självförverkligande. Punken är inte död. Normen har lagts på soptippen och formaterats om så att materialet kan födas på nytt utan att vara påtvingat, och i denna automatiska skrift återfås syftet i konsten att stå för någonting som inspirerar.

Rupini har varit involverad i konstscenen under en lång tid, han har till exempel medverkat i performanceverk på Venedigbiennalen. Han gick bakvägen via konsten och visar nya verk i en annan miljö och i ett möte mellan de två sammanhangen. Genom hemligheterna i den ordlösa massan höjs de upp som en trollformel av välvilja, likt voodoo. Hans textklotter är inte kaotiskt, utan fixerat som en slags amulett eller förtrollning med specifika intentioner. De är noggrant invävda i och över färglagren. Voodoon är hos Rupini del av den intersubjektiva längtan att överbrygga ondska. Det spirituella budskapet av välvilja är välkommet som en motkraft mot förestående undergång, orsakat inte bara av människans girighet, klimatförändringar eller förödande krig utan också vår ambition att klå medmänniskan istället för att visa solidaritet.

Cargokulten återfunnet hos vissa folk i söderhavsöarna som lever ovetande om resterande mänskligt liv och som ser messianska budskap materialiserade i last (på engelska ”cargo”) inspirerar Rupini. En liten ö kan utgöra deras totala universum, vilket leder till att de förundras och bokstavligen dyrkar dessa omvärldens rester som spolas upp på stranden. Uttrycket i färgerna och den automatiska skriften i airbrushtekniken hos Rupini tangerar denna naturliga respekt för föremål genom hans konst. Den tyske filosofen Theodor Adorno uttrycker i sin bok ”Estetisk teori” att ”konst är ett löfte om lycka som alltid bryts”. Kanske bär Rupinis verk den magiska potens som motbevisar Adorno.

Text av Valter Syden
Översättning av Katarina Sjögren
Januari 2019

 

More about this exhibition

There is a movement, much like a whisper from the ancient elevated classics via the masters of our time that flows through Emma Bjurströms painting. She amplifies and throws new light directly at that which previously existed in the background. By her hand it ends up in the foreground and become revitalized with great precision. Bjurström comment her painting-style as a counter-reaction to the understanding itself, the human desire to divide and categorize. Yet the canvas reveals the motifs vigorously without hindering its enigma. That is the magic of it yet not becoming some exulted realism. One gets sucked inside the paintings and blissful are those who gets the chance to see them, but for a while.

There is an imaginary taboo, a barrier if you like surrounding the idea of updating the classic masterpieces. They often stand for themselves, and there is a collective agreement letting them stand over yonder. Much like the German painter Neo Rauchs’ figurative works that concist of abstract and surreal colours, Bjurström challenges this strain of thought and dares the forbidden. It is just like a performative dictum when the judge announces “I hereby sentence you to” or the religious master of ceremonies says “I now declare you man and wife” to succumb into her paintings. The collective view changes the thing in itself, what used to to in a certain way has changed into something new. The background turn into foreground, all that is hidden is unveiled and everything seems to be in perfect harmony. Is Bjurström the judge and our master of ceremonies? To define change, one needs a now and a then.

Deformation is change in form or size in an object when different loads/materials are added. The classics whisper from one side, and the new ones stand as a reflection in the mirror but changed. The collective has been present in the process and testifies that the change is ready, yes something has transformed. We all agree on this, so the question is where do we sign? Deformation does not necessarily have to mean something ugly or negative, but rather like in all creative prcesses give birth to new ideas, realizations and relationships via the old materials or ideals. In a world that according to our collective mindset is dualistic, these things have to stand in dialogue with each other. Bjurström communicates this via her painting, but also so much more.

Modern times have tried to separate reason and feeling, everything shall be in its right place and the wavelenght needs two points. Bjurström uses all this but explores the new boundries that exist, that which is borderless and elevated.

/Valter Sydén, November 2018

Recension i SvD 5.12.18 av Joanna Persman:

https://www.svd.se/varje-enskilt-verk-ar-som-en-sylvass-tanke 

 

More about this exhibition

With Lewis Baltz, Anna Boghiguian, Tanya Busse & Joar Nango, Nina Canell, Tyler Coburn, Zachary Formwalt, Bodil Furu, Núria Güell & Levi Orta, Erik Holmstedt, Anton Kats & Maia Urstad, Daniel Keller, Sam Lewitt, Park McArthur, Sean Snyder, Diamond Stingily, Ulla Wiggen

Contemporary society is shaped by flows of capital, networks of people and information that connect distant parts of the world and various levels of social productivity. This winter, Bergen Kunsthall presents an extensive exhibition that deals with ‘circulation’ as a central notion in current socio-political and economic conditions, and presents the work of 19 international artists.

16 november – 13 januari 2019

To Bergen Kunsthall