The exhibition unites London based Spanish artist Fran Meana and Danish artist Ditte Gantriis. The works in Go with the Flow examine and question how objects, design solutions and visual phenomena relate to the major changes in our society in its inevitable transition from an industrial to a knowledge-based society. Through different approaches, Meana and Gantriis investigate the paradoxical relationships that occur in materials as well as concepts as we try to adapt to the new values affected by the development.
Fran Meana presents a threefold piece entitled Action Office, which through the use of caricature and humour portrays how our progression in late capitalism manifests itself in quite specific and tangible ways. In Meana’s animation piece we meet a whimsical avatar, borrowed from Claude Smith’s 1964 cartoon comic book Andrew Alsop's Ambition, which enthusiastically revitalizes the old photographs from the furniture catalogue by practising all kinds of leisure activities on the various items of design furniture. We follow the avatar in his Robinson Crusoe like fortune, landing on a desert island after officially being sacked from his office job. The desert island becomes perhaps emblematic of the cultivated but isolated freelancer, who is no longer able to gather colleagues in a common struggle against the uncertainty of working conditions. Meana amusingly uses different concepts to create a narrative that sheds critical light on how we have indolently let the development lead us, rather than the other way around.
Ditte Gantriis’s large mural paintings set off from a term often used in by various product developers in everything from food delicacies to product design. The concept of 'artisan' contains the idea that a product at some point has been in contact with a talented technician or specialist. The term includes in its original meaning references to the artist and his craft skills, as a unique product that is produced only in small quantities, with a personal touch. Yet this concept extends speculatively into many areas of commercial communication, where there is no guidance to what it means and under what conditions it can be used. The romantic idea of the artisan expresses how we have lost the connection to production through the commencement of Fordism and its industrialized and standardized form of mass production. Gantriis emphasizes the paradox embedded in the use of the term and humorously plays with the concept’s connection to the idea of art and the artist as a declamation of the original and authentic. Gantriis uses this parallel to challenge our ideas both of corporate tactics and art's own terrains of exclusivity and uniqueness. By rearticulating a stereotypical and commercialised language that flourishes everywhere around us, Gantriis's paintings appear caricatured and dramatized as the hand-painted motifs fly around out of control in the exhibition space.
Collectively Gantriis and Meana's works create an insightful conversation, posing fundamental questions about how we over a short time have accelerated our society through technological and ideologically elaborations. How does this affect us and make new demands on us as individuals in the service and knowledge-based society? Meana and Gantriis use a fresh, witty approach to open up these concerns via a seemingly easy and light attitude that merely reinforces as one branch the various critical layers the works and the exhibition entail.
Curated by Iben Bach Elmstrom
Kindly supported by Copenhagen Municipality Arts Council and Balderdash.