ENTERING THE VOID
Jon Vogt Engeland & Karl Patric Näsman
29th of May - 20th of June 2013

Karl Patric Näsman (b. 1986) and Jon Vogt Engeland (b. 1987) have since December 2012 been working on the collaborative project Entering the Void. With a starting point in the collection of several hundred paintings subject to the Rothko litigation between 1971-1979 the artists want to address a visual void these Rothko painting suggest along with a social void that the lawsuit indicated. The manifestation is presented at NAU Gallery in a dual: an installation of ink-jet prints mounted in light boxes by K. P. Näsman, and a text based performance by J. V. Engeland.

In his work, K.P. Näsman has taken a use of freely circulating images to bring up the issue of image property and reproduction as a form of art making. His work displayed at NAU Gallery consist of four mutated Rothko-paintings that have been inspired from hundreds of his artwork collected from books and the Internet and which were all among the collection traded illegally by the executers of Marlborough Gallery following Rothko’s death in 1970. Put together and mounted in light boxes, Näsman’s work can be seen as a paraphrase to M. Rothko´s artwork, with an indication of the “luminous glow” of his paintings. Standing in front of Näsman´s work, one could consider the evaluation of art, based on different values. What happens when something considered as high art, is transferred into something built in low material, with an indication of an advertising sign? Or when circulating, low quality images, are made into a file of high quality images, displayed at the gallery?

In unison to K.P. Näsman´s two-dimensional work, J.V. Engeland presents his piece in a text-based performance, using the concepts of “speakeasy” and “parrhesia” as a base for his presentation. While the speakeasy is a place where truth can be spoken but never referred to when outside of it, the parrhesia embodies a mode where truth is spoken directly and openly, ultimately with the risk of personal death. With his performance, J.V. Engeland activates these two conflicting terms, varying between making them play against each other and play together. His performance makes a remark on the lawsuit between Marlborough Gallery and Rothko’s daughter, where the paintings were found in the courtroom of a constant clash of rhetoric versus anti-rhetoric. Furthermore it can also be seen as a reference to the conflicts of free circulation of art images as opposed to the “pure experience” of art.

With the exhibition Entering the Void, the artists want to explore and discuss the unfamiliar of copyright and the art law, the conflicts between rhetoric versus anti-rhetoric, questioning authenticity and the on going subjects of truth and strategy of the artistic work.