Looking is Not Seeing
4 June - 10 July 2021
Bjorn & Gundorph Gallery is proud to present the solo exhibition Looking Is Not Seeing by the renowned Danish artist Mikkel Carl. The narrative of the exhibition is - as the title also indicates - the juxtaposition between looking and seeing.
Looking Is Not Seeing is a further development of the artist's exhibition Panem et Circense (Eng. Bread and Circus), which took place in the former Gallery Jacob Bjørn's high-ceilinged exhibition rooms in the old Ceres Brewery. Here, the focal point of the exhibition was a seemingly rusty steel plate of 3 x 5 meters, which stood leaning against the wall - as well as a number of gold mirror paintings.
In the exhibition Looking is Not Seeing, it’s the other way around. In the middle of Bjorn & Gundorph Gallery - another post-industrial space in the heart of Aarhus - the viewer can pass between two 3 x 3 meter upright arches that offer another illusion: to be constructed of shiny, battered brass plates.
The installation is accompanied by a series of abstract paintings that appear to be made of steel exposed to acid, oil, wind, and weather. The works DNA lies between the expressive, procedural and minimal and all bear the title Triviality Affords the Supreme Idea of Depth. What at first glance may seem superficial is actually what gives depth to the conceptual identity of this series of paintings and ultimately challenge the spectator to identify the difference between looking and seeing.
As an extra installation feature, Mikkel Carl has chosen to paint the gallery’s huge mirror wall white. This masking of an architectural signature for the gallery refers directly back to the artist's work What Cannot Be Imagined Cannot Be Seen created for the exhibition Cool, Calm, and Collected at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in 2017. In this exhibition, the artist covered the walls with used MDF boards from previous installations at the museum. Precisely this kind of dialogue with previous works and exhibitions is a signature for Mikkel Carl, whose installation works have been incorporated into the permanent collection at several of the largest Danish museums.
Mikkel Carl (b. 1976) lives and works in Sorø. He has a BA in Idea History from Aarhus University and an MFA in visual arts from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He is now an associate professor of Visual Arts and Exhibition Practice at the Funen Art Academy.
Mikkel Carl has exhibited at e.g. Esbjerg Art Museum, Randers Art Museum, ARoS, HEART in Herning and at galleries and art institutions around the world including M23, New York; Anonymous gallery, Mexico City; Nordic Contemporary, Paris; Boavista Gallery, Lisbon; Basis, Frankfurt; Soy Capitáin, Berlin; Rogaland Art Center, Stavanger; David Dale Gallery, Glasgow; Nuuk Art Museum; Caves Art Center, Taipei.
The artist's installation works are in the collection at ARoS, HEART, Arken and Randers Kunstmuseum. Most recently, Mikkel Carl's permanent, outdoor installation I’ll Be Your Mirror has been premiered in Augustiana Kunstpark and Kunsthal in Augustenborg.