Love Terins, «Flagga (Flag)», 2018, tempera and acrylic on cotton, 165 x 115 cm
Besides private ownership of the means of production, a defining feature of the capitalist economic system is the motivation to make profit. Following this line of thought, the implicit purpose of producing goods and services is to obtain and accumulate profit, which in turn can be invested so that even more financial gain is generated. Those who align with and defend capitalism, mean that acting in accordance to its logic will lead to ever improving levels of efficiency and productivity, ultimately settling the humankind on an unceasing growth curve of prosperity. On the other hand, critics of the prevailing economic paradigm have linked unfettered expansion to increasing levels of inequality and scorned the system’s faulty assumption that the world we live in has unlimited resources.
At a time when it is becoming increasingly apparent that the underlying logic of our economic system, which dictates that business must forever scale up, is clashing with the capacity of our planetary system, Studio17 is proud to present a group exhibition featuring artworks by Jon Vogt Engeland, Love Terins, and Istvan Virag that reflect upon various phenomenons associated with the era of free-market capitalism.
Stretched over Studio17’s street-facing window, Jon Vogt Engeland’s newly produced work «Ghosts» mimics a wear pattern that develops on denim pants as a result of repeated use. In the mid-19th century denim jeans became popular among workers in need of durable clothes. While highly developed technical textiles have come to replace denim as workwear, their demand has not waned. On the contrary, jeans have managed to continuously expand their market and reach new clientele, which makes them a poster child of a profitable product.
Love Terins’ painting «Flagga (Flag)» from 2018 portrays a torn fragment of a plastic bag from a multinational discount grocery chain Rema1000 that floats against a light blue background painted with expressive brush strokes. The motive succeeds at once evoking a lightness of being by capturing the beauty of the mundane and being a painful reminder of the devastating impact that these ubiquitous objects, with their 1000–years–long decomposition time, have on the environment.
«Pixel Pitch» by Istvan Virag is a series of immersive, hypnotic video collages displayed on large format LED screen. Installed on the lower floor of Studio17, the latest addition to the series is a looped video that contrasts the belief in limitless economic growth with a fundamental principle of the universe, namely entropy. Composed out of a wide range of visual material and edited so that it proceeds towards a maximum state of entropy, «Pixel Pitch, vol. 2» juxtaposes development and construction with energy exchange and release, ultimately leading to a decay of material. Observed too close, the moving images formed by countless light-emitting diodes will fail to come together. To get a coherent picture, one ought to view the work from an ample distance. Arguably, the same principle applies to most subjects under scrutiny. The video is accompanied by a black and white photo collage «Render crash (faded microstate)», depicting sun bleached construction nets from building sites, that is animated by the flickering LEDs.
The exhibition has been curated by Mirja Majevski out of Open Call applications received by Studio17 during the year 2019.
Studio17 and the exhibition is supported by the Arts Council Norway and the City of Stavanger.