Artist: Torben Ribe
Exhibition title: OUTLET
Venue: Overgaden, Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: September 11 – November 8, 2020
Photography: Anders Sune Berg / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Overgaden, Copenhagen
Torben Ribe’s artistic work often examines the interrelationship of everyday-life aesthetics and practicality with the autonomous artwork. With abstract painting as his recurrent subject of endless scrutiny, Ribe is interested in how painted, commercial, and private pictures are influenced by the mutual relationship between them and how far this influence extends.
On the fully refurbished ground floor of Overgaden Torben Ribe has created the total installation OUTLET. The gallery spaces have been transformed into a painterly and sculptural version of a discount furniture outlet: unspecified sofa sets are scattered randomly in the rooms –on plinths or in smaller clusters – and styled with decorative cushions and fleece blankets. All together resembling cheap merchandise in an unspecified and temporary outlet.
Amongst the sofas Ribe has placed a series of paintings in various rectangular formats resembling the ubiquitous flat screen and mounted them on TV stands or hanging above the floating shelves. The paintings are composed as assemblages of various materials and elements, for instance woodchip wallpaper embedded with articles on hand hygiene, a pregnancy test, a recurrent picture of Elsa from Frost, a series of googled images of children in harnesses and miscellaneous hard-edge abstractions among other things.
Via this ambivalent aesthetic, Ribe reflects on the ludicrous clash between the idea of an artistically sublime execution of abstract painting and the socio-political reality surrounding the painterly process. For in reality, most days in an artist’s studio are filled with frequent interruptions and distractions, procrastinations, material desires and fear of various kinds. By including these arbitrary trivialities as a kind of force majeure, Ribe conveys to us the precarious relationships of contemporary art with society at large, modern image formations, the aesthetic of consumption and life’s infinite fortuitousness.
Torben Ribe (b.1978) lives and works in Vordingborg, Denmark.
Recent exhibitions include Graphic Interchange Format at Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Pizza is God at the NRW -Forum, Düsseldorf, Cool, Calm and Collected at AROS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Lean Issues at the Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, Indoor Paintings at the David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, Neighbours at CAR DRDE, Bologna, and Landscapes and Fruit at Galerie Hussenot, Paris.