Jesper Carlsen at Overgaden

Artist: Jesper Carlsen

Exhibition title: Surface Encounters

Venue: Overgaden, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: November 11, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist, Overgaden and their respective copyright holders

Note: List of works can be found here

In his solo exhibition Surface Encounters the Danish artist Jesper Carlsen investigates the digital as an artistic medium. Through simulations of real materials, the digital is made visible as a way of viewing reality, addressing our perception and the ways the digital has the potential to change how we approach our surroundings – and ultimately our own reality.

Jesper Carlsen’s art focuses on the perception and activation of spaces using digital tools. In the exhibition Surface Encounters, he investigates the capacity of the digital medium to transgress and play with the boundary between the virtual and the real.  In doing so, he questions whether we can talk about the virtual and real as opposites today, or whether they are just different realities – one virtual, and one physical. The digital works in Surface Encounters strive not only to represent reality, but to become something we understand as real. Using techniques like animation and 3D printing, Jesper Carlsen breaks the digital into distinct components that are treated with a precision and materiality that makes an otherwise abstract, digital surface palpable.

Central to the exhibition are eight animations focused on the investigation of digital representation. Each animation presents a moving object. The animations appear as real materials from the physical world – like skin, smoke, wood and stone – but are entirely digital creations. The eight animations are seductive illusions that the viewer wants to grasp and understand, but which due to their algorithmic origins remain pure surface.

Dispersed throughout the exhibition are 3D-printed sculptures of objects like ships, tableware and body parts – all standard models used to calibrate 3D printers, and all balancing between being an object and an anonymous component. Unlike the elevation of materiality in most classical sculptures, in his printed sculptures Jesper Carlsen strives to evade materiality and any subjective, artistic statement. In their anti-materiality, the sculptures become examples of the specific expectations we have of the materials and objects we surround ourselves with.

On one of the walls of the exhibition Jesper Carlsen has created wallpaper visualising the algorithm Perlin Noise – a filter frequently used in computer graphics to create transitions that make graphics look more real. The wallpaper plays with the digital as physical material and illusionary surface, but also visualises an algorithm that is a key element of Carlsen’s own digital toolbox.

With Surface Encounters Jesper Carlsen not only works with the digital as a material, but also addresses its role as a co-creator of reality.

Jesper Carlsen (b. 1977 in Aarhus) lives and works in Copenhagen. He graduated from the Funen Art Academy in 2006. He has exhibited widely internationally, including at Sierra Metro in Edinburgh, The Lab in San Francisco, Wedding in Berlin, Espai Ubú in Barcelona, and Uppsala Konstmuseum. In Denmark he has exhibited at Brandts, Trapholt, Galleri Image, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Koh-i-Noor, Toves and Martin Asbæk Gallery.

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

Jesper Carlsen, Surface Encounters, 2017-2018, exhibition view, Overgaden

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