b holm andresen: PLASTic FANTASTic

08.02.07-04.03.07 (Galleri A)

Utstillingen finner sted i Galleri A

"Plastic fantastic"

By Erling Moestue Bugge, art critic, Oslo.

In its pastel tones, 'Plastic Fantastic' is creative innocence laid bare. These paintings make no attempt to create a barrier between the commercial and art worlds, on the contrary it intentionally draws attention to an art shaped by the undefined laws of the market. What instantly strikes us are several painted canvasses with familiar figures and "feelgood" stencils gathered from Disney's golden age - Mickey Mouse and Mini Mouse, Cinderella and Dumbo, Chip'n'Dale. But the choice of images is often arbitrary for B Holm Andresen; the inspiration of workable reproductions might as well be supplied courtesy of Google's search-engine.

Working in London's art world, B Holm Andersen has become familiar with the many levels of the art scene and with all the commercial mechanisms involved in the transaction of art. A mechanism suffused by an intricate game of money, desire, power and status is helping to drive the value of works of well-known signatures on to astronomical levels. The paintings in "Plastic Fantastic" confront us with this primitive, almost infantile game, which on a basic destructive level has invaded every genuine creative expression. We are talking about art objects that are totally tied to the abstract and "hyped" value judgements of the market. All that is left of an intimate personal expression, from poetry to politics, is underwritten and judged within such a context. Likewise the artist also becomes just another "brand-name" being tossed about in the global commercially driven stream of information.

The commercial invasion of the 'art-sphere' should be well known to all, and is simultaneous with the relativism of all images in the post-modern, and the individual artist's loss of any sense of transcendence. The innocent idea that it's possible to get away from such an accepted aesthetic by making forms of anti-art, non-figuration, and base expression, is also illusion in itself.
Today, art can be everything or nothing - the only consistent theme being the clinical function of 'the market'. So, why not paint beautiful girls and horny bunny rabbits? Something to make us all happy? Baudrillard hints to this when he says, '"Art and the art market flourish precisely in proportion to their decay: they are the modern charnel houses of culture and the simulacrum"(1). It's precisely these simulacrums, these freestanding symbols emptied of content, which provide the inspiration for B Holm Andresen's canvasses.

Obviously, in such a context one should make reference to Jeff Koons, the Yuppie, the city trader who reinvented himself as artist and brought Duchamp´s ready-mades to a logical conclusion. The principle here is the same: why not create an art of optimism and contentment to the point of bursting when the division between the banal and the aesthetic has in fact already imploded? That the division between high and low art has evaporated is a fact "Plastic Fantastic" want to explore further. Paintings like "Tickle Me" can be seen as paraphrasing Koons "Rabbit" - a rabbit in stainless steel with a value of 70 - 80 million US dollars. B Holm Andresen's bunny rabbit points its finger while sniggering at the remnants of expressiveness and abstractness and we are left to search for Koons name in the top corner of the painting. Here we find ArtNews list of the most powerful people in the art world today. François Pinault and Charles Saatchi writ large next to other fine names, that are difficult to pronounce.
At this point, these names, these prices, are the only visual reality for us. As a form, art does not designate anything anymore. It does nothing else but point - like the bunny rabbit - at its own absence.

(1)Jean Baudrillard, The Intelligence of Evil or The Lucidity Pact, Berg publishers, New York, 2005, P. 103

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