ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Jacco Olivier & Per Kirkeby | Axis Mundi

Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam

16.11.2019 – 28.12.2019

Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents Axis Mundi: an exhibition in which Jacco Olivier (NL, 1972) shows new paintings and videos alongside selected works of the Danish artist Per Kirkeby (1938-2018)

Jacco Olivier | Axis Mundi
Axis Mundi or “axis of the world” represents a center between two worlds. This is often a religious midpoint at which higher and lower worlds connect. In many cultures around the world we can find such religious centers, as a totem pole in Alaska, the mysterious statues of Easter Island, the high altar in the choir of a Catholic church, or the large red rock formation Ayers Rock in Australia. In some of Olivier’s newest works, one may find literal expressions of axis mundi. In others, axis mundi symbolizes a turning point in Olivier’s new paintings, marking a new step in his oeuvre.

In his newest work, Olivier searches for an opening to a new world of painting. He unites abstraction and figuration by bringing together different layers of paint. As in his mesmerizing animations, the artist layers different projections on top of each other by bringing variety to volume and color. Central to Olivier’s work is what ‘painting’ can do and particularly what a painter can do with a minimum amount of resources and effort. With just a few short and smooth brush strokes, Olivier makes impressions of a hummingbird, a doubting diver or the dream of an unknown world.

As spectator of Olivier’s seductive and colorful works, one easily forgets the more substantive and abstract considerations of his work. Anyone who knows how to reject this temptation realizes that Olivier is at his best when he confines himself at the turning point of his painting. By stopping at this critical moment – just before the work begins to show too much narrative or becomes too beautiful or ugly – Olivier knows how to generate a maximum of spontaneity and purity.

Jacco Olivier is a graduate of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. He has exhibited worldwide, notably at ZKM, Karlsruhe; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; Victoria Miro Gallery, London, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht; MCA Denver, Colorado; The 56th Venice Biennial, Venice; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; New York City Center/New Museum, New York, and GEM, The Hague. His art is held in many public collections, including Honart Museum, Tehran; The Zabludowicz Collection, London, and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, amongst others. This summer he was awarded the Jeanne Oosting Prize.

Per Kirkeby | Axis Mundi
Per Kirkeby was one of the most renowned artists of his generation. Kirkeby’s multiple skills, not only as a painter, sculptor, and filmmaker, but also as an author of poetry, essays and travel books have led to a versatile body of strong and unique works. While involved with Fluxus and being part of the Experimental Art School of Copenhagen (Eks-Skolen), Kirkeby studied geology and was greatly influenced by his expeditions to Greenland, which led him to place nature at the center of his artistic endeavors. The dark colors and pristine lights of the Nordic landscape play a central role throughout Kirkeby’s oeuvre.

For the exhibition Axis Mundi, Dutch artist Jacco Olivier selected multiple works by Kirkeby to showcase next to his own. Kirkeby has been a great source of inspiration for Olivier. “Recently the work of Per Kirkeby made me realize that you can paint your way out of a painting,” Olivier says. “His works are gateways, passages to another world. They show something that is beyond the things depicted. The structure in the work, the way it’s built up, reveal the true subject of the painting: a rhythm. This rhythm or frequency resonates and opens up an invisible world.”

As in Olivier’s work, one may find literal expressions of axis mundi in the work of Per Kirkeby. The towers, gateways, and trees in his work are reminiscent of centers of the world at which lower and higher realms connect, allowing for fruitful interactions and new beginnings. By letting these structures emerge from his ferocious brushwork and the spatial depths of his abstract landscapes, Kirkeby fights the entropy in his wild neo-expressionist paintings. The structures and forms of axis mundi are built up as a kind of protection – against the chaos that makes its way, against the directionless space of the image.

Kirkeby represented Denmark in the 1976 Venice Biennale and participated in Documenta VII and IX. He has been granted solo survey exhibitions in important institutions such as the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Kunsthalle Bern; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk. His work can be found in numerous public collections, including Tate Modern, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MoMA, New York, and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

For further inquiries or additional information, please contact Nick Majoor-Arie:
nick@ronmandos.nl | +31 (0)20 320 70 36

ARTWORKS

ABOUT Jacco Olivier

Jacco Olivier was born in 1973 in Goes, The Netherlands
He lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jacco Olivier fuses painting and filmmaking by repeatedly reworking paintings in generous casual brush strokes and systematically photographing each development. The various stages are combined into projected animations. The resulting films are enigmatic and experiential – moving in and out of abstraction they reveal the traces and decisions made by the artist in the process of painting. While there is a clear and quite complex process involved in their creation, Olivier does not set a thematic agenda for the works, or for their relationship to one another. The films are instead imagined as windows onto converging, and often elegantly simple, moments of daily life – a bus journey, a swim in the ocean, or a walk through the woods. At this convergence of painting and cinema, however, lies an uneasy tension, a feeling that something is about to happen or has just happened that is unexpected and beyond our control.

Jacco Olivier is a graduate of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. He has exhibited worldwide, notably at ZKM, Karlsruhe; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY; Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht; MCA Denver, CO; The 56th Venice Biennial, Venice; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; New York City Center/New Museum, New York, NY, and GEM, The Hague. His art is held in many public collections, including Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; the Honart Museum, Tehran; the Zabludowicz Collection, London, and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL. In 2019, he was awarded the Jeanne Oosting Prize for figurative painting in The Netherlands.

GO TO THE ARTIST PAGE

ABOUT Per Kirkeby

Born in 1938 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Lived and worked in Copenhagen and Læsø, Denmark and Arnasco, Italy
Died in 2018 in Copenhagen, Denmark

Per Kirkeby (b. 1938 in Copenhagen; d. 2018 in Copenhagen) was one of the most renowned artists of his generation. Kirkeby’s multiple skills, not only as a painter, sculptor, and filmmaker but also as an author (of poetry, essays and travel books) make for a versatile body of strong and unique works. While involved with Fluxus and having studied at the Experimental Art School of Copenhagen, Kirkeby studied geology and was greatly influenced by his expeditions to Greenland and Mexico, which led him to place nature at the center of his artistic endeavors. Another source of inspiration has been the Byzantine image tradition and the iconoclasm involved: broken byzantine vases and other ornamental objects are a recurring element in his work.

Per Kirkeby has been a professor at the Art Academy in Karlsruhe (1978-89) and Frankfurter Städelschule (1989-2000). He represented Denmark in the 1976 Venice Biennale and participated in Documenta VII and IX. He has been granted solo survey exhibitions in important institutions such as the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Kunsthalle Bern; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk. His work can be found in numerous public collections, including Tate Modern, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MoMA, New York; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

GO TO THE ARTIST PAGE