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Cataloguetext for the "In search of the 4th dimension" exhibitions at Galleri Andersen & Jul, AAlborg, DK and Gentofte Art-library, Hellerup, DK.

In Search of the 4th dimension

Red/Green. In the 3D-experience the world displays itself to you. The illusion is tangible and most of all, genuine. In just the same way art may leave you with the impression that the world displays itself to you in a new dimension which justifies it's presence as genuine.

The artistic process of creation as the point where form and matter, oeuvre and process meet, is also the point where the artist's search begins. The struggle with the world in an attempt to make reality appear as coherent whole. Reacting against an existential cul-de-sac - at war even with the surrounding reality - the artist will seek to distill his vision of fact.
Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen's series, In Search of the 4th Dimension, is a sequence of paintings in which the main theme is their own creation. In other words, they investigate how creation takes place. But not only in the artistic sense. Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen turns his investigations into a collective event where his series of paintings function as fragments of a continuous tale, describing modern man's search for further dimensions in life.

The focal point in the paintings is a man, the exact likeness of Enevoldsen himself, wearing a pair of 3D-glasses, whom we follow on various investigative excursions. Inserting the 3D-glasses is Enevoldsen's way of creating a symbol of the search for another profound dimension where the red-green filter figuratively speaking permits the artist's scientific distance to the reality he investigates. The investigations themselves are spread over a diversified spectrum - from news media over natural phenomena to adrenaline-sport and art. One common denominator for all areas investigated is that they are all invested with the ideal notion that they at least contain the desirable clues to new perception.

By using the 3D-glasses as a recurrent motif, Enevoldsen points at the faculty of vision as human sense which lends itself best to insight whereby the paintings at first confirm the general idea that vision to a greater extent than the other senses is the vehicle to reason and rationality. Using his eyes, Enevoldsen's artist-figure investigates reality from without. He sees for himself. This apparent accept of the supremacy of vision is also underlined on the formal level by Enevoldsen's painting technique: By and large details are clearly rendered and laid open to the spectator's understanding. Simple compositions concentrate the message to the utmost degree. The synthetically pure colour scheme, borne by strong contrast rather than subdued half-tones, results in a stylized naturalism which again emphasizes the distance to reality as symbolised by the 3D-glasses. In itself the sequence of paintings is a series of segments of reality, presented to the spectator in Technicolor as though seen through a filter with special colour-enforcing effect. When used as here, and gazing at a reality which is not prepared for 3D-vision, the glasses are actually impediments to the vision. Paradoxically the series herewith demonstrates how vision is not infallible as a means of cognition.

The man wearing the 3D-glasses is constantly being used as a symbol, the meaning of which changes along with the changes in context. In one of the paintings actual creation is illustrated as an event. The painter is portrayed in the mythological moment when the creative process begins - in that spectacular second when the first brush-strokes are set on the canvas. In the painting the artist is seen sitting in front of an empty canvas in violent contrast to a surrounding visual riot of sketches, paint-brushes, tubes of paint, photos, newspaper-cuttings, candy-wrapers and coke-bottles. The agressive whiteness of the canvas intensifies the magic of the moment where the painting is begun: On the naked canvas. Everytime. Placing the artist immediately in front of the empty canvas underlines the immediacy of the creative process. The upper part of his body fits exactly into the frame of the canvas, whereby the pristine canvas also functions as a portrait of the painter himself at the onset of the creative process and as pre-destination of a future motif.

This representation of a magic moment in time places the painting among the genre of pictorial, photographic and filmic 'documentations' of 'the artist at work in front of his easel' a genre which too often dwells on the creation of the art-work whereby the stubborn illusion is born that being a witness to the creative process automatically leads to a better understanding of the final work, not to speak of the painter's personality. In point of fact, the idea of the alleged close connection between vision and intellect is indicative of a view of art which blindly overlooks - or deliberately ignores - the painter's conceptual deliberations - the thoughts which necessarily must precede the visible result.

On one important point however, Enevoldsen breaks with the traditions of the genre: He does not disguise the fact that he is aware of being watched. On the contrary he confronts the spectator (who is also seen by the painter in a 3-dimensional version) whereby he at this very moment in the creative process may be said to shift the artistic responsiblity to the viewer. It is now the spectator's own task to fill that vacuum of inspiration expressed by the artist. In the self-portrait it is the artist alone who determines how he wants to present his working environment and consequently his art work and conception of art.

In the very same painting Enevoldsen repeats sections of the other paintings in the series in the manner of 'a painting within a painting'. This repetition of images, in advance caught in representations, refers to the multiplying principle in the production of pictures. In this way everything in the painting is seen as re-production. By doing this, Enevoldsen comments the construction and sequence of coming events, thus forecasting the existence of the other paintings. He acts as director, as he who literally keeps the keys to the action in his hands, as he who directs the artist on the canvas, casting him in various existentialist roles where he becomes his own spectator, for instance in two of the sequence's other paintings, where he humouristically attempts to penetrate other artists' visions. In this case, Baselitz and Beuys. Momentarily he dares enter into the experiment of seeing with eyes not his own. These paintings are yet another example of Enevoldsen's multi-dimensional art.

To the right of the white canvas you see a finished painting which shows the painter with 3D-glasses standing between two easels on which are placed respectively a green and a red painting. The painting works in the same way as a reflection in a mirror - a perspective of repetitions where the motif repeats itself in an infinite corridor of mirrors where the same paint-brushes dipped in red and green paint are lifted again and again, and where the image of the artist as the centre between a symmetrical doubling of easels likewise is repeated again and again all the way to the vanishing point of the perspective. In this painting Enevoldsen is more specifically interested in the very act of painting as the exponent of the condition of the artist The act of painting is represented as a routine gesture and the artist himself as a machine-like and disillusioned mechanism who, apathetic and blind, appears to be an automation painting pictures. Here the repetition is an image of the watering down of the value of paintings as carriers of insight and bearers of meaning. The painting becomes a comment on the artist's inherent doubts with regard to his chosen profession. Enevoldsen plays irony and sincerity against each other in this statement on the eternal cycle of illusion and desillusion as experienced by artists, or indeed mankind. In his desillusioned state, man believes himself to be free of illusions, all the while he still labours under the cynicism which follows upon desillusion. The conviction that the world does not appear to be what you originally thought is yet another proof that you are still in the thrall of illusions.

You may conclude that in his art Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen discusses common problem of doubt - doubt about how to interpret the world. He focuses on man's continuous search and attempts to provide an answer to the question of whether longing and change are expressions of the covering of distances, of other realities or another life; whether change is proof of our going anywhere or whether change takes place in our bodies and heads only?

Lotte Møller and Stenka hellfach

(Translated by Ida Pagh)


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