The mechanisms behind what makes us feel happy and good are the feed for Allen Grubesic’s line of production which is conveyed through a wide variety of media and expressions. Best known for his video Ooze (2003), where candy couloured shampoo bottles ejaculates to a meditative soundtrack, Grubesic also works with nearly any kind of material and media like for instance installation, sculpture, painting and even clothes. Shamelessly and delightfully Grubesic borrow manners from the art history icons and fuse easily recognizable fine art traits with iconography from popular culture. The merges elegantly avoids the pitfalls of irony but definitely becomes humoristic and funny – the smile is never far away. The playfulness and ease with which Grubesic operates from well up from many of his works, while a more anxiety-filled and dark side shines through in other works. This can be experienced in for instance the seven black snares that are clotted together in 7 days, One week (2006) or the four repetitive paintings Les Peintures Difficiles (2006). This dark side gives depth to his work that only from a first and very superficial glance may merely be about the glossy surface of things. The psychological state of pleasure resides right next to its opposite, where displeasure and dissatisfaction plays large roles in shaping our desires and needs, and one side couldn’t be without the other.
Delight of happiness is what we all strive for at the end of the day and it comes in many shapes, forms and manners. Personal consumption seems to have a direct connection to bliss, and a chemically enriched diet, prescribed or not, is yet another. Grubesic’s works with clouds of molecules in jolly colours and smiley faces gains an eerie edge when one comprehends that they are in fact portraying chemical substances useful for becoming ebullient, like Laughing Gas (2006) or Amphetamine (2006). A glamorous surface can be truly alluring and tempt even the fittest till surrender to the desires of beauty, sex, power and other life igniting forces that makes life so appealing, so captivating. Because you are worth it.
Allen Grubesic's work concentrates on how color and form directs the
subconscious impulses of man, based in biological and genetical
conditions, and how these impulses are manipulated by, and played with, within contemporary consumptionism. For example, there are strong similarities between the interaction between insects and flowers, and their mutual interdependence, and especially the element of luring involved, on the one hand, and the relationship between the subliminal propaganda of corporations and the subconscious desires of consumers, on the other.
In his video Ooze and his still lives, Grubesic undresses the packagings of consumer products, strips them of their familiar and mass-marketed brand names and tables of contents, to expose them in their unexpected nakedness. With this undressing, he shows how the luring, the sexually attracting sculpturality, has totally replaced functionality, how subliminal desire and fetishism has taken center stage, in current consumptionism, thereby mimicking animal life.
Excerpt from text by Alexander Bard (2003)
SPORT.01 (translated by David Jones)
We normally link playing with spontaniety. But the field on which every game is played is relentlessly geometrical: football fields, tennis courts, stadiums, wrestling mats, chessboards. Nothing is so bound by rules as games. Those who voluntarily indulge in play submit themselves to constraint, even coercion. Games unite rigorous rules with violent emotions.
Sport.01 offers itself as a circle, a cosmos as well-ordered as the zodiac. A centre, two starting points and pieces/ office chairs that in silhouette take on the appearance of the parts of insects in the ’Large Glass’ by Marcel Duchamp, the chess-player. Two competitors, applauded by their supporters, attempt to eject each other from the game. This is a struggle that is as old as the
Olympic games called ’agon’ by the Greeks. The object of Sport.01 is survival – of the cuts in the service sector, competition on the career ladder – a duel or battle scantily camouflaged in everyday working life. Every game is an unblinking model of the terms on which we live, at the same time mimesis and liberation.
Allen Grubesic and Karl Tuikkanen formulate in their work what Johan Huizinga once defined as the criteria of games in his classical study Homo ludens: playing is restricted in time and space, it is voluntary and unproductive, it gives rise to pleasure, it is symbolic. Huizinga claims – like Freud and Winnicott – that playing and art are close kin. Sport.01 is located precisely at the point where they intersect geometrically.
2002 Peter Cornell
1974 born in Uppsala, Sweden
Lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden
1998-03 MFA Royal University College of Fine Arts, Stockholm
2000 Universidad de Barcelona, Facultad de Bellas Artes
2008 IASPIS residency @ Istanbul Platform
2005 1-year Working Grant, Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Visual Arts Fund
2005 Project Grant, Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Visual Arts Fund
2002 Stig Hedbergs Foundation, Sweden
2011 Concept - CharlesBank Gallery, NYC
2009 Disnintergration - Alida Ivanov Gallery, Stockholm
2006 New Work - Natalia Goldin Gallery, Stockhom
2004 Natalia Goldin Gallery, Stockhom
2004 MSU, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Curated by Leila Topic
2004 300M3, Gothenburg
2011 'The Ha-Ha Crystal', Maria Stenfors Gallery, London
2009 Silence is appreciated..., Manzara Perspectives, Istanbul
2009 Summer Salon, LaViolaBank Gallery, New York
2009 Bunnies, It Must Be Bunnies, Lautom, Oslo, Curated by Erlend Hammer
2008 Year1, LaViolaBank Gallery, New York
2008 MAKE OUT, Studio 44 Stockholm, Curators Malin Anrell & Stefan Forss
2008 On Produceability, 5533 Istanbul, Curated by Alti Aylik & Nüans
2008 Sameness, Difference and Desire, Pulse NYC, Curated by Bill Arning
2007 Artist Clothing, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm
2007 A Hundred Ideas..., Yeonheedong 195, Seoul
2005 Fade to white, Vita Kuben, Umea, Curated by Année Olofsson
2005 Tiranabiennale #3, "Bitter Sweet" Curated by Joa Ljungberg
2005 The Body, Art And Science, Nationalmuseum Stockholm
2005 Hypercommercial by curatorlab, Älvsjö 05
2005 The Mirror Between Us, Miliken Gallery Stockholm
2004 Artist Clothing, Centre Culturel Suedois, Paris
2004 Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt, Curated by Power Ekroth
2004 "Pixelache", Kiasma, Helsinki
2003 Show off, Konstakademien, Stockholm
2002 AbnormalAudio CD1,Moderna Museet c/o, Stockholm
2002 Half way Home, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
2001 Sport01. Galleri Mejan, Stockholm
2004 Artist Clothing #2. Curated by Ulrika Gunnarsdotter
2002-04 Abnormal Audio & Abnormal VAG (with Jakob Senneby)
2001 Sport.01 (with Karl Tuikkanen)
The Swedish National Public Art Council
Charles Bank Gallery
New York, NY 10012