Regionalt norsk maleri, Nanna og Frigg microdoserer og en ny roman

Bjarne Melgaard

November 22 – December 16, 2018

Press Release

Galleri Brandstrup is proud to present our first solo exhibition with  Bjarne Melgaard. The exhibition  “Regionalt norsk maleri, Nanna og Frigg microdoserer og en ny roman,” will consist exclusively of paintings, and opens on Thursday, November 22, at 6-8pm. The artist will be present.

Bjarne Melgaard (1967, Sidney, Australia) attended the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts, before moving on to The Netherlands to complete his studies at the the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, and then afterwards at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Melgaard has since lived and worked in Poznań, Warszawa, Maastricht, Antwerpen, Amsterdam, Sydney, Brussels, Copenhagen, Berlin, Barcelona and New York before moving back to Oslo in 2017.

His works belong in a long tradition of expressionism, which can be traced back to Melgaard´s spiritual mentor, Edward Munch. The expressionist movement broke with the existing artistic conventions with its illustrations of inner tensions and conflicts, instead of solely conveying outer realities. Melgaard first appeared on the Norwegian art scene in the mid 1990s during the uprising of the neo-conceptualism. Chaotic and expressionistic paintings, sculptures and installations floating between fiction and reality, filled with fearsome lust dominated the art scene. He drew inspiration from Jean Dubuffet and Art Brut, with art created by outsiders of the art scene, such as children and the mentally ill. It was at this time he developed his characteristic artistic expression, where every brush stroke is applied with feeling and sensuality, which occasionally can nearly result in abstraction.

During the 1990s Melgaard immersed himself in to the world of black metal, and absorbed their fight against authority, Christianity and society at grand. His work further gravitied towards violent expressionism, where the artist took a role as an “invisible third party” in an array of acts of sex and violence. Melgaard compeared this process with prostitution, and considered his works as a “hooker” or “slut”.

Melgard is a master of seducing the spectator in to a maze of complexed, exaggerated and destructive layers of stories, where he transforms his paintings and installations to otherworldly marvels, often with the effect of powerful words and simpler single line illustrations. Feelings of desire and inner demons congregate within his work, which develop extreme reactions in the viewer. Melgaard paints sincerely, by allowing himself to embrace ideas, and instinctively apply them in his works. Through his works he constructs dreams and fantasies, with associations to reality for example by incorporating photos from magazine clippings directly into the canvas of his paintings. With the use of words or fragmented sentences, he balances illustrative visual elements with the effects of sound, which has an overwhelming effect on the spectator.

Throughout his career his work has been a steady flow of real or imaginary stories, where the media he uses, from drawings, paintings and sculptures to installations, books and catalogs, all revolve around the matter of condemnation, and the desire for individual and total freedom. Through his art he questions the definition of normality, the reasons for social exclusion, conformity and authority. He tackles the conformism of society by taking into force subjects such as drugs, torture, violence, racism, sadomasochism, and death along with distorted characters and provoking texts. Throughout Melgaard´s carrier the viewer is confronted with persistence and repetition of this raw expressionistic style, which awakens intense reactions among us. In his visual chaos, with layer upon layer, single line figures and scribbles the spectator can see and feel the emotional intensity in each brush stroke of his artistic process.

Melgaard´s works are a part of permanent collections such as the MoMA in New York, the MOCA in Los Angeles, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Astrup Fearnly in Oslo and many others. He has participated in the Venice Bienalle (2011), the Lyon Biennale (2013) and the Whitney Biennale (2014). In 2013/2014 the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo opened an exhibition, curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran and Therese Möllenhoff, presenting works from the past 20 years and representing all periods of Melgaard's œuvre. In 2010, Astrup Fearnley Museum also exhibited the retrospective exhibition Jealous. In 2015, the Munch Museum Oslo displayed the show exhibition Melgaard + Munch - The end of it all has already happened.