Håkan Rehnberg, "Insomnia"Berlin, January 27th - March 03rd, 2007
Galerie Nordenhake is very pleased to present a solo exhibition ‘Insomnia’ by Swedish artist Håkan Rehnberg. The show presents recent sculptures and models made of glass, aluminium and steel, as well as paintings on acrylic glass from the ‘Insomnia’ series. The sculptures are closely related to the paintings by a common understanding of the artist’s aesthetic practice. Just as in the paintings each stroke of paint is clearly identifiable on the acrylic glass, each element of the sculptures and models bears or has borne a clearly defined function.
Håkan Rehnberg occupies a central position in the contemporary Scandinavian art scene. His painting has passed through several stages. In the nineties, he has developed an intensified interest in the ‘painterly’ as well as added another shift to his practice, where he takes the surrounding space into account, and almost incorporates it into the artwork itself.
Rehnberg’s sculpture is an architecture for the mind to visit. The large aluminium sheets in ‘And he stutters’, 2006, show traces from the manufacturing process. Within the reflections on the glass our bodies meet up with the sculpture while the surrounding architecture is simultaneously drawn into the piece. The title ‘And he stutters’, attaches verbal and semiotic qualities to the work. As a fragment of a word is repeated, stuttering stretches time, resulting in something else formed in-between. It is hard to talk about Håkan Rehnberg’s art without mentioning his interest in philosophy and particularly in Heraclitus of Ephesus. Not surprisingly, in 1997, he translated the ‘Fragments’ into Swedish together with Hans Ruin. Håkan Rehnberg’s art has many levels but its dynamic and dialectical essences are visually present for anyone to behold.
The paintings are made after a similar pattern. The starting point is the elusive problems behind art - figuration, illusion, facticity, frontality and how they relate to space and spatiality, as well as how the viewer is involved in this process. The colour-scale used in ‘Insomnia’ is a variation on red, yellow and blue, where blue has been substituted by Ivory black mixed with Naples yellow. Rehnberg preferably uses heavy, earthy pigments. The support, an industrial acrylic glass — a material without tradition in art —, does not allow anything to be hidden. Each stroke of paint on the acrylic glass is final and nothing can be repaired. The oil paint is applied not with illusionary brush-strokes but with planned strokes with a wide spatula normally used to spackle house walls. The gesture is a fragment instead of a romantic expression.
The title of the series, ‘Insomnia’, refers to the restlessness and exhaustion that characterise such a state. Insomnia is an undesired state, an in-between state, that also has interested philosophers like Maurice Blanchot who wrote about the state of insomnia as a primordial sea ruled by deliriums and phantoms.
Insomnia, 2006, Oil on acrylic glass, 2 x (150 x 135 cm), Diptych
Two works from Insomnia, 2006, Oil on acrylic glass, each 65 x 75 cm
Two works from Insomnia, 2006, Oil on acrylic glass, each 170 x 150 cm
Model for a Pavilion, 2006, Glass, aluminium, steel, 38 x 52 x 15 cm, 97 x 20,5 cm