Håkan Rehnberg, Berlin, October 31st - January 09th, 2016
Galerie Nordenhake is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Håkan Rehnberg. After his solo presentation "Double Scene" at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm earlier this year, the gallery will show new paintings and the sculpture The Approach by the artist. Rehnberg is an influential Swedish artist, who for decades has produced paintings that combine unique formal precision with a fascination for the inherent potential of sensuality.
Early in his career, Rehnberg renounced the canvas as a support in favour of an industrial material: sandblasted sheets of acrylic glass. The solid and semi-transparent ground reveals a heightened immediacy towards paint, thus registering all stages of the painting process: Each movement is irreversible and therefore final. The translucent ground also allows Rehnberg to create an interaction between the paint in the foreground and the wall in the background, creating an immediate relation between the painting and the surrounding architectural space.
Håkan Rehnberg always creates his works in one session: He covers the glass with several layers of dabs and fragments of oil paint wet on wet and moves it around, using a painting knife. He eventually reveals parts of the paint all the way down to the support with a small painting knife. The layers of wet paint visually and physically change places. As Rehnberg describes the process: “I move the paint around, as if ploughing a half-unknown terrain, with erratic and unpredictable gestures.” The rhythmic movements reveal gestures, reminiscent of handwriting. Nevertheless, the gestures are inscrutable and remain opaque. Rehnberg states: “To me, the work of art stands for an action of resistance, no understanding, no usefulness, but sense of wonder and a vertiginous questioning.” In the paintings, the viewer can sense this active denial of linguistic and narrative characteristics and is confronted with the visible presence of time, gesture and act.
Whilst the paintings by Rehnberg might be described as rhythmic and sensual, his sculptures are entirely geometric and systematic. They usually consist of aluminium and glass plates in standard sizes, joined together in 90-degree angles. The process of industrial fabrication is visible through a multitude of scrapes and scratches left on the surface of the aluminium.
With their modest scale, reminiscent of objects from a domestic environment, they do not feel overpowering. Whereas some elements are closed and conceal the space, other parts are open and allow the viewer to look through them. The use of glass and its reflective characteristics enhances this dialogue.
Although the sculptures seem cold and distant in their matter-of-factness they incorporate their surroundings and interact with the world around them.
Håkan Rehnberg (b. 1953) lives and works in Stockholm and has exhibited widely both in Sweden and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at Moderna Museet Stockholm (2015), Malmö Konstmuseum (2007), Studio A, Otterndorf (2006), Vida Konsthall, Halltorp (2005), and Sønderjyllands Kunstmuseum, Tønder, (2004), Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm (2002). In 2010 he participated in the Sydney Biennale (2010). His work was on view in numerous group exhibitions, recently at Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (2009), National Art Museum of China, NAMOC, Beijing (2008), the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2003), and the Helsinki City Art Museum (2002). In 2002, the artist was honoured with the Carnegie Art Award, and his work was presented in the same year in the corollary exhibition at the Reykavik Art Museum. He has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts since 2000. This is his twelfth exhibition at Galerie Nordenhake.
Untitled, 2015, Acrylic and graphite on polyester, 89.1 x 60 x 5 cm