JESUS CHRIST GET OFF MY BACK
A SOLO EXHIBITION BY THOMAS ØVLISEN
Thomas Øvlisens artistic practice is hard to categorize. The works in Jesus Christ Get Off My Back are both formal and specific, while at the same time minimal, abstract and infused with an immediate energy. They are engaged in a continuous dialogue about their position.
Here the artist would probably interject “Jesus Christ Get Off My Back!”
Because while the works are rooted in, and are part of, an art historical context, they address a spontaneous excitement about creating and living. In materials and aesthetics the works reference surf culture, not the professionalized elite sport, but rather the side of surfing that is about the joy of sitting in the ocean scanning the horizon for the next ride able wave.
A subculture, maybe romantic, that is about being present in the moment. Writing “Gone Surfing” on a sign and closing the office for a couple of hours, or Facebook (permanently) or picking the kids up at 12 on a Monday or simply just enjoying being. Be here now.
Øvlisen works with glass fibre, foam, felt, kevlar and auto paint. In a process that keeps the artwork in a state of constant transformation. New layers are continuously added and eroded. The aesthetic is minimal, not like Mies Van der Rhoe, but more akin to the minimalism of punk, 1, 2, 3 guitar, drums and vocal. Cut to the bone and further into the foundation. The works resonate with joie de vivre. A positive reaction to the human condition.
One series of works, between sculpture and painting and roughly the same size as surfboards, balance against the wall. The viewer has to turn the works in order to see the side facing the wall. In this way the exhibition continuously reflects the choice of the last active visitor.
Thomas Øvlisen (1975) was born in Denmark and has a BFA (2001) from Rhode Island School of Design in America. He lives and works in Copenhagen. Simultaneously with the exhibition at V1 Gallery he is also taking part in the exhibition Insurgencies in London. In the spring of 2012 Øvlisen will open his third solo exhibition in New York with Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery.