Stainless steel. Streamlined shapes. Subtle patterns in discreet dark blue. Soft head cushions. Calm voices. Barf bags neatly folded into the seat-back pockets.

The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest

Globalisation makes the world smaller. It facilitates international trading, stimulates intercultural exchange and inspires cultural homogenisation. Globalisation brings people together by making them more alike, by making them wear the same swooshes on their sneakers, keeping their books in same awkwardly named bookshelves, drinking the same Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino® while listening to the same jazzy soundtrack, fiddling with the same smartphones. Driven by a longing for security, confidence and homeliness, we bundle up in a snug blanket of well-known trademarks and let the generic aesthetics of globalisation lull us into safety. Brands and logos are the closest we can get to an international language and the mall is the new public space. The political power is slipping over from nation-states to multinational enterprises that dominate the global market as well as the minds of the customers. There is no centre or periphery, only inside or outside of the mall, up or down on the international stock market.

Search data is the new collective consciousness and Qatar Airways fires employees over Facebook statuses. The football team Atlético Madrid’s main sponsor is the state of Azerbaijan and King, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, has access to over two million gigabytes of user information. Kids are still killing each other over Nike sneakers and Apple’s Chinese supplier Foxconn has put up safety nets outside their factory windows to prevent employees from committing suicide. Behind the homely, homogenous surface of global gentrification lies a darker truth, shrouded in stock-exchange quotations and jazzy soundtracks.

In Love at First Flight, Viktor Fordell presents collages of air sickness bags mounted on photographs showing close-ups of airplane details. Some of the world’s best and most successful airline companies are represented: Qatar Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air and Etihad Airways, enterprises known for their excellent services and highly questionable working conditions. By appropriating the repetitive, generic language of globalisation, Fordell’s work scratches the surface covering the new empire of enterprise, carefully painted in discreet dark blue.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.

/Sonja Nettelbladt

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StⒶte of Being


A group exhibition consisting of works by twelve artists read from a perspective of how the existance of the state influences the behaviour of the individual. The artists have all worked in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden – often celebrated as the best example of a well-functioning welfare state.


Mads Aarøe
Emma Bernhard
Miriam Bäckström
Viktor Fordell
Johanna Gustafsson Fürst
Julius Göthlin
Daniel Hoflund
Simon Mullan
Evan Roth
Linnea Sjöberg
Sophie Tottie
Lisa Trogen Devgun

“To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”

– Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, “The General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century ”

“Therefore a wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of the state and of him, and then he will always find them faithful.”

– Machiavelli, “The Prince”

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The paintings of Jakob Simonson consist of close to 200 layers of transparent acrylic paint. Using a roller he first applies a layer of cyan, then a layer of magenta, followed by a layer of yellow. Afterwards, he repeats the process. Each layer is applied very thinly over an aluminium plate. Every now and then Simonson takes a sanding-machine to the surface, removing the granulated irregularities left by the roller, but not the traces of his hand’s movements. The sanding reveals depth and releases the spaciousness of the painting. Oddly, in this way we are brought closer to the image. Initially, the beauty is not apparent, of course: one layer each of cyan, magenta and yellow makes for a rather dull and boring image without depth or vitality, and the early layers do not make a painting. It is only after 60, 90 or 120 layers that the work starts to show signs of life – the depth being of great importance.

There is also the question of stopping the process in time; the question of not adding too many layers. One coat too many and the magic is gone. A parallel with the photographic process is close at hand. An under-exposed picture is usually arid, dark and lifeless. But where is the line to be drawn? With each exhibition Simonson’s paintings have become a little darker. The number of coats has increased.

/Nils-Eric Sahlin

Jakob Simonson was born in 1974 in Skara, Sweden, and lives and works in Malmö, Sweden. In 2008 he graduated from the Malmö Art Academy, and has since exhibited solo at Malmö Konsthall and Landskrona konsthall (with Patrik Aarnivaara) (2009), as well as CEO Gallery (2013), Malmö; and Galerie Arnstedt, Västra Karup, (2012). He has participated in group exhibitions at Moderna Muséet, Stockholm (2010); Lunds Konsthall and Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin (2013), as well as Oslo Kunstforening (2012) and Kunsthal Charlottenborg (2009). This is his first exhibition with Belenius/Nordenhake.

"Gräsligt skönt", an essay by Nils-Eric Sahlin (in Swedish)

”Plötsligt händer det”, lyder en välkänd slogan. Det plötsliga behöver givetvis inte vara en enkel penningvinst, det plötsliga kan bestå i att man i tunnelbanan springer på en gammal vän för första gången på tjugo år, ser en tajgasångare på en gren i trädgården, knäcker ett svårt matematiskt problem … eller får en lika fantastisk som oväntad konstupplevelse. Mitt första möte med Jakob Simonsons målningar var en sådan upplevelse. En plötslighet som slår vilken trisslott som helst – med råge.

Det monokroma måleriet har alltid fascinerat mig. Kanske inte då Yves Kleins väl färgstarka blå målningar så mycket som Kazimir Malevitjs, Robert Rymans och andra konstnärers vita bilder. Hur är det möjligt att med en enda färg skapa så intensiva upplevelser? Vitt på vitt borde vara en estetikens återvändsgränd. Så är det säkert, men även gränder kan vara fasligt vackra. En del forskare har frågat sig: Vilken färg har universum? Frågan är inte helt enkel att besvara. Om universum varit en målning som vi kunde betrakta på avstånd hade vi kanske genom en okulär besiktning av verket kunnat komma överens om färgen. Men så enkelt är det inte – vi är alla en del av helheten. Detta enkla faktum ställer till det för oss.

Först trodde man att universum var grönt, idag tror forskarna att det är vitbeige. Kosmisk latte fick färgen heta. Ett halvljummet, lite sumpigt namn på en inte alltför attraktiv färg med färgkoordinaterna 0.00, 0.03, 0.09, 0.00 i CMYK-rymden (cyan, magenta, gult, svart). Vad har monokromatiska målningar och kosmisk latte med Jakob Simonsons konst att göra? Simonsons målningar är inte monokroma – de är skenbart monokroma. Jämförelsen med det monokroma måleriet är inte bara haltande utan direkt felaktig. För mig är detta en viktig insikt. Simonsons målningar är fulla av färger, på samma sätt som universum inte är målat med en enda nyans av beige.

Simonsons målningar är uppbyggda av närmare tvåhundra lager transparent färg. Först rollar han ett lager cyan, sedan ett lager magenta och så ett lager gult. Sedan börjar han om igen. Varje lager rollas tunt, mycket tunt över aluminiumskivan. Av och till tar han fram slipen och putsar bort alla spår av rollerns knottrighet men därmed inte spåren av handens rörelse. Slipningen blottlägger djupet, frilägger målningens rumslighet. På ett märkligt sätt kommer vi närmare bilden. Skönheten uppstår givetvis inte direkt, en handfull skikt gör ingen målning. Ett lager av vardera cyan, magenta och gult blir en ganska platt, ointressant bild – inget djup, inget liv. Det är först efter 60, 90 eller 120 lager av färg som målningen börjar leva – djupet är viktigt.

Men det gäller att sluta i tid, att inte lägga på för många lager med färg. Ett par skikt för många och magin är borta. Parallellen med den fotografiska processen ligger nära. En felexponerad bild är inte sällan livlös, mörk och andefattig. Men var går gränsen? För varje utställning har Simonsons målningar blivit lite mörkare. Färgskikten har blivit fler. Blandar man cyan, magenta och gult i lika delar uppträder en mörk och ganska dorsk, brungrå ton. Men när dör målningen, hur många lager färg, hur mycket pigment behövs? Gränsen mellan målning och objekt, måleriskt djup och själlös yta, är tunn Exakt var denna demarkationslinje ligger är vad Simonson försöker ta reda på – om han vill korsa den är en annan fråga.

Simonson har också byggt sina målningar med himmelsblått och den paradoxala färgen lampsvart. Den senare kulören täcker framsidan, eller är det baksidan, av de tre paneler (två mycket stora och en mindre) som han ställde ut på Moderna Museet i Stockholm 2010. Bone, black, lamp, black … a second from half a second ago är en installation; panelerna och deras ställningar i trä och järn utgör en helhet och visar hur viktigt rummet, byggnadskonsten, är för Simonsons konstnärskap. Det vi ser är tvärsnitten av ett sovrum, en dörröppning och ett vardagsrum. Det den svarta färgen avbildar är luftrummet mellan golv, väggar och tak. Det vi själva måste försöka få grepp om är volymen.Tvärsnittet avslöjar inte mycket om rummets form, antalet tänkbara möjligheter är kittlande många.

Simonsons målningar är inte sällan direkta avbildningar av olika arkitektoniska former. Det kan vara ett fönster eller helt enkelt den yta som bildas av tomrummet mellan några bärande element. Detta är också skälet till att målningarna ibland har märkliga former och oförklarligt sträcker sig ut från väggen. I den serie objekt som alla har titeln Camera, är det inte längre en fråga om inspiration och inflytande, här handlar det om konst som arkitektur eller arkitektur som konst. Här finns även ett släktskap med Rachel Whiteheads inverterade skulptur. Det frånvarande rummet, den inverterade arkitekturen, bidrar till skönhetsupplevelsen. Jämförelsen skall dock inte dras för långt.Simonsons Bone, black, lamp, black … a second from half a second ago är kanske mer en teaterscen, en kuliss, där vi, betraktarna, iscensätter skådespelet.

Även denna gång, här på utställningen på galleri Belenius/Nordenhake, visar Simonson en “Camera”. Cameran är en spegelvänd modell av galleriet i skala 1:15. Galleriets insida har täckts med speglar. Det dagsljus som faller in genom galleriets fönster och som sedan fångas av ”kamerans” linser (fönster) kommer att studsa runt mellan speglarna och skapa skenbart monokroma bilder – ”lager av lager” med färg.

Samtida gallerier och konsthallar presenterar idag de verk de ställer ut i ett artificiellt, nästan perfekt ljus. Det hela blir lätt sterilt, standardiserat och inte minst likformigt. Personligen föredrar jag, trots alla nackdelar, ett levande naturligt ljus. Simonsons målningar skall man definitivt betrakta i dagsljus. Det riktigt klara, varma dagsljuset gör att man kan blicka ner genom djupet av färglager – se alla skiftningar och nyanser som primärfärgerna skapat. Särdeles vackra är målningarna när endast en begränsad yta träffas av solens strålar. Till exempel när vårsolen smyger sig in genom ett fönster och letar sig bort till målningen. Att följa ljusets utbredning över bilden är milt magiskt.

Vad har umgänget med Simonsons konst lärt mig? Uppenbarligen en massa ”icken”. Att målningarna inte är monokroma, att det inte är spännramen eller pannån som avgör deras storlek och form, att de inte har samma kolorit som universum, att de inte … Men framförallt att de är gräsligt vackra.

Nils-Eric Sahlin

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Timothy Crisp — Interferens


The works of Timothy Crisp are made of glass and are often remarkably small. The smallest being but a few centimeters in size. The images have been formed by the process of scraping away layers of paint from the backside of the glass with a needle in order to produce a sort of negative print, which renders great richness of detail and a peculiar sharpness.

The richness of detail encourages us to come closer and the sharpness draws us even closer still until we find ourselves so close that it almost hurts when looking at them. It is as if we were peering directly at a source of light or had been looking for too long through an optical instrument. An instrument, which in this case, invites us to witness an ongoing interplay of opposites such as memory and oblivion, light and darkness, past and present, truth and deception.

Though often small, Timothy Crisp’s works hold an element of great dimensionality. A tension between the tangibility and sharpness of the images and the fundamental impermanence of what they depict is very clear.  In one of the works the landscape has been effectively erased leaving only the solitary lines of longitude and latitude.

The speed at which something appears or disappears varies in Timothy Crisp’s works. Sometimes the process is slow as when an abandoned building begins to decay or when a memory sinks slowly into oblivion.  Other times it is considerably faster as in the case of the solar eclipse in one of his works. Everything here, without exception is fading away, no matter how intensely it currently shines.

/Jens Soneryd

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Art Rotterdam


Bigert & Bergström
Evan Roth
Ilja Karilampi
Timothy Crisp
Sophie Tottie
Simon Mullan






Amir Fattal
Przemek Pyszczek
Vanessa Safavi

Curated by Saskia Neuman

The foundation for the exhibition Interior / Exterior / Sculpture is the relationship between the artists’ own personal story and history. Investigating exterior architecture in their immediate surroundings: buildings, parks and playgrounds as well as architecture from further afield. At times paring these investigations with actual studies of the physical body.

The sculptures and reliefs are, in instances, extensions of the artists’ persona and – their own physicality. In both Fattal and Pyszczek’s work there are apparent and very direct links to their personal heritage, which ties into larger histories – that of European history: WWII and the decline of the Iron Curtain. Whereas Safavi creates a red thread between exterior influences, building and surfaces, with the exterior of the human body, establishing a very intimate and personal meeting point within her metal sculptural structures.

Pyszczek explores Polish murals. Decorative pastels figures and shapes painted directly on facades of residential buildings, eschewing the blanket of the Cold War aesthetic by completely embodying the narrative of the time: tertiary beautification in an attempt to dissuade the eye from seeing – processing. The artist does not stop there; Pyszczek examines building exterior, playgrounds and a plethora of architectural elements in Poland – the artists’ birthplace. We are encouraged to participate on his journey. Flashes of memory recognized in how the artist deals with the physicality of the sculptures and reliefs, mimicking windows or components of a playground jungle gym.

Amir Fattal focuses on the exterior imagery of the imaginary German Village. In 1943 a military experiment with Erich Mendelsohn at the helm. Using Mendelsohn’s experience as an architect in Berlin, the American army constructed life-size versions of Berlin tenements. With the intention to – in the artists own words, ‘efficiently destroy them’. The images were taken from the American army archive and are juxtapositioned against blocks of color. These colors were taken from the Mendelsohn archive, and originally used in buildings Mendelsohn designed and built in Berlin during the 1920s, prior to escaping Germany for the U.S. Here, Fattal examines his current surroundings. Through the reliefs the artist express’s a complex relationship between pre and post war architecture, and the usage of architecture as a tool for both construction and destruction.

Vanessa Safavi surveys bodily form and how it can be expressed through material and elements often connected with exterior functionality. Safavi combines several layers of art historical references along with cultural references, mirroring her own background. The artist uses the myriad of cultural influences, married with her constant travel, expressing these in her approach to sculpture. Working with hard metals to create soft properties. Here, originality mingles with exoticism, pooling into a colorful pop culture take on minimalism. Allowing these ‘bodies’ space to breath, deliberately playing with the contradictions that arise in her practice. The sculptures represent a somber approach to a vivid exploration of creating a dialogue between the exterior of say a building and the familiar embrace of a recognizable entity, a safe space.


/Saskia Neuman

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Ilja Karilampi — Faze Miyake


When I interviewed Ilja Karilampi in the spring of 2014, he drew an analogy between being an artist and working as a detective inspector. Both being professions on the fringe of society, they work meticulously to solve things, more often than not using unorthodox methods. They have irregular working hours, always being on duty. They see patterns that no one else can see. They never give up. Seeing his new work, these similarities begin to dawn upon me.

In Faze Miyake, symbols and references taken from society and popular culture are interweaved with transient expressions of identity and selfhood. Brand logos and stylized icons are combined with personal quotes and images on large boards of plexiglas or aluminium, not unlike the collages of suspects and clues seen in detective TV-series. And not unlike the series’ designated star, Ilja Karilampi takes the spectator through a maelstrom of traces and signs, where every element suggests a deeper underlying story and a new dimension of truth.

In the case of Faze Miyake, Karilampi gives way to a myriad of voices and characters, all filtered through his strikingly simple visual language. One of them is the exhibition’s eponym, Faze Miyake, a British-Pakistani DJ and producer, who in his weekly radio shows bring out the latest and most progressive tracks from the underground music scene. With music being one of Karilampi’s main sources of inspiration, Faze Miyake becomes a symbol for the new and unconventional, what the artist himself would describe as next level. Disguised behind a fictitious moniker, Faze Miyake also serves to illustrate the mystifying of pop culture and their public personas, a recurrent theme in Karilampi’s practice.

Another character included in the exhibition is Swedish artist and director Axel Petersén, whose upcoming thriller Under the Pyramid inspired several of the exhibition’s most recent works, made as possible set design for the movie. A third voice is Nhu Duong’s, fashion designer and friend of Karilampi’s, whose name figures in one of the plexiglas pieces, superimposed on a stylized fence patterns next to a trefoil knot symbol and an excerpt in Arabic.

Together, the various characters create an erratic narrative, unfolding in three parts. The first one, presented in the front room of the gallery, contains large-scale boards of laser cut plexiglas mounted in sculptural aluminium frames, while the second one comprises similar works in engraved aluminium. To get to the final part of the exhibition, one has to go through a balcony door and step into a UV-lit backroom, where a couple of brightly coloured wall-pieces are accompanied by soundtrack.

The most extensive exhibition of Karilampi’s work to be shown in Sweden, Faze Miyake is a meandering exposé of the artist’s multilayered universe, a fragmentary story told through a number or characters and scenes, symbols and signs. Moving between the representational and the self-reflective, the exhibition is a meditation on the times we live in as much as a self-portrait, a cold case with no solution in sight.

/Sonja Nettelbladt

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