NoPlace, Oslo proudly presents:
26.08.11 – 04.09.11
Opening: Friday 26.08.11, 19.00 – 23.00
Opening hours 14-17, Saturdays and Sundays
In one of Markhus' paintings a man is sitting on top of a big rock in the woods, holding a fishing rod out over the stone's surface, as if the stone was actually a small pond. The fishing line even penetrates and creates ripples on the stone's surface. But oh wait, it is actually a pond, something about the color scheme or the outline or both just makes it appear as a spherical volume rather than your standard flat water surface.
Phenomenologically speaking, what confronts us is just different colors of paint smeared on a canvas; not a stone, not a pond, simply paint. (It even still smells like paint.) This short-circuiting on the level of representation invites us to experience the painting as materiality. To underscore this Markhus' canvases are often physically packed with paint, layered on in bulky, log-like strokes. (You picture wrung-out oil-tubes scattered around his feet.)
This means that the figurative effort here is undermined by an invocation of sensuality. This sensuality, performed through the overtly material gestus that the paintings reside in, is not the kind of sensuality one associates with mastery - where the brush-wielding subject opts for a sublimation of his shameful, individualistic tics under the banner of some haughty subject-matter or technical bravado - this is the sensuality of immaturity: A sensuality that is all about curiosity, desire, body, self and play: celebrating the masochistic satisfaction one gets from falling down the ladder of ascribed value and finding back to that undiluted pleasure of creation that filled your world as a child – before your dad started voicing his expectations – allowing the process of composition to be dictated by authorial whim rather than by law.
These paintings are sensual the same way a character from a Gombrowicz story is sensual as he hatches absurd measures to alleviate the pain of modernity, crouching in front of the door to a girl's bedroom, making strange sounds that mean nothing, not even to him, but are still there filling the air, finding their own sort of aesthetic legitimacy simply by virtue of taking up sensory space. In Markhus' case the medium happens to be painting. Still, when he paraphrases Caspar David Friedriech it's not a paraphrase but the painterly equivalent of echolalia; because flanking his take on the "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" are Don Johnson leaning on the hood of his car under a palm tree, a picture titled "Grandma", a prancing nude and a seemingly crippled mermaid; all of them and more, frolicking like bacteria up there on that damp-green wall, impregnable and painted, semantically undecided.
Get great abs in 5 days! - 50x40cm – oil on canvas
Prancing nude as nude interlude - 50x40cm – oil on canvas
Reclining mermaid - 60x50cm – pencil and oil on canvas
Bird – 119x92cm - oil on unstretched canvas
Totally untitled – 60x50cm - oil on canvas
Grandma - 60x50cm – oil on canvas
Mother & Child – 60x50cm – oil on canvas
The pied drummer of Hamelin – 156x160cm - oil on unstretched canvas