Henrik Olai Kaarstein at Gether Contemporary

Artist: Henrik Olai Kaarstein

Exhibition title: No Need for Good Luck

Venue: Gether Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: August 19 – September 30, 2017

Photography: David Stjernholm, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Gether Contemporary, Copenhagen

In Henrik Olai Kaarstein’s first solo exhibition ‘No Need For Good Luck’ at Gether Contemporary he investigates reproductions of memory and intimacy.

Comparing two pairs of photographs either blurred or crudely angled at its motif with different materiality framing and overlapping the images, he contrasts the explicit imagery and the sensitivity with the rough and delicate materials staging them. By doing so Kaarstein draws the viewer in by the romanticism and the affection of the motifs presented. But at the same time the boldness of the format and the setting of the work create a drastic duality leaving one in a chasm between materiality and content.

For the exhibition Kaarstein has created a photographic installation, which goes out into the exhibition space, breaking with the two-dimensionality of the medium and pushing the motif outwards. Two huge photographs mounted on red tape hang side by side in the room creating an effortful focus forcing the viewer close to the works and manipulating the inspection of them. The adhesive tape covers the wall while the smooth, bright front creates a frame for the prints. The red wall functions as a constricting prop instead of a hanging system. Silk ribbons are tied around the prints, seemingly as a gesture of generosity and a present within the presentation.

In the gallery two smaller versions of the photographs are also presented, this time sleekly behind glass and meticulously framed. Drawing on the pop technique of repetition, Kaarstein duplicates the images, displacing and confusing the experience of the uniqueness and potential of each individual motif, to transform them into something familiar and experienced.

With the exhibition ‘No Need for Good Luck’ Kaarstein exposes transforming relationships, with an outset in his own personal movements captured and laid bare to confront us.

Henrik Olai Kaarstein was born in 1989 in Oslo, Norway. He lives and works in Brussels and Oslo. He graduated from Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main in 2015. Recent solo exhibitions include ”New Promises” at C-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Brussels. Recent group presentations include Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Vestfossen; Carl Kostyal, Stockholm and Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo. His work is acquired by the collections of The Astrup Fearnley Museum, Kistefos Museum and Nordic Contemporary Art Collection (NOCO) among others. He is represented by T293, Rome