Johanne Rude Lindegaard at Overgaden

Artist: Johanne Rude Lindegaard

Exhibition title: Skygger i stykker (Shadows in Pieces)

Venue: Overgaden, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: June 4 – July 25, 2021

Photography: Anders Sune Berg / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Overgaden, Copenhagen

Note: Exhibition handout is available here

Imagine a matrix imploding, plunging you through an abyss of dimensions, like a hundred mirrors shattering. Imagine cubism on acid as if the squared shapes were multiplied, squeezed, and bleeding into organic shapes. Imagine a dirty, spiraling birth canal rewinding old masters. This is the work of emerging Danish artist Johanne Rude Lindegaard (b. 1987, DK), whose first grand solo show at a Danish art institution is presented at Overgaden in spring 2021.

Working on grand-scale, architectural canvases—too grand for domestic commodification, they stand on their own, off the wall, creating intersections delineating Overgaden’s spaces—Lindegaard’s new series of abstract paintings are physical, tactile portals to an illusory underworld.

Most of the works in her series, like flower petals, unfold around an epicenter, a hole, suggesting psychedelic channeling into dissolution, a world without foothold, a place of bewilderment, loss. And that, in lieu of all its abstraction, is political. Using the baroque effect of tricking the eye (trompe l’oeil) is not to be dismissed as a mere trick. The works’ central swirls allude to neoliberal wormholes, as if soaked into a drugged-up game of Tetris gone wrong, a tube, a splintered highway to personal collapse, trauma; sometimes exalting into something like a manic, bright elevation, sometimes opening up the contours of a splintered psyche, losing control.

In practical terms, the paintings, too, are out of control, or at least on the edge of being so. Lindegaard constructs her giant motifs by folding her canvases into three-dimensional shapes. Building the thick fabric into sculptural layer cakes and then spray-painting it, she invites her choice of acrylic monochrome colors to bleed, glide, and flounder in the cracks and folds as they wish, far beyond her direction, finally unpacking the canvas and stretching it on the frame to reveal the outcome. Adding depth, the artist often paints onto both sides of her voluptuous surfaces, turning the canvas into a corporal body of paint that must be experienced from all sides.

Rather than being just a façade, these paintings are, in and of themselves, physical beings, commanding nearness. Pulling the idea of painting far away from a solely cognitive, optical experience, Lindegaard’s work demands a bodily, visceral perception, removing herself from any supposedly free space of abstraction and instead moving toward a feminist insistence on heavy, carnal depth.

Johanne Rude Lindegaard (b. 1987) is a visual artist educated from The Funen Art Academy and The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Most recently Lindegaard has exhibited at Brandts, Odense, fAN Kunstverein, Vienna, Gallery Pablo’s Birthday, New York, and OK Corral, Copenhagen.