Our good friend and frequent contributor Henrik Haven recently stopped by Michael Kvium's newest exhibition, "Painters Nest" at Nils Stærk in Copenhagen, Denmark. Staging is essential to the art of Michael Kvium. This approach has been employed and refined in different expressions such as performances, video installations, paintings, and sculptures and the performative aspect is a recurrent artifice throughout his entire career. The staging and the performativity are once more the focal points in the exhibition Painter’s Nest.
The characters, or rather the performers, in the paintings depict different representations of a painter. The role of the artist is examined in various stagings and often the representation of the artist appears to reflect the beholder’s own imagination of an artist. This matter develops in different attributes of the portrayed painters – features that all relate to the metier of a painter: a brush, a tube of paint, a painting cloth etc.
In his artistic practice, Kvium consciously engages with themes and genres from the history of art. This time, the investigation of the artist’s studio (or nest) is central – a wellknown genre brought up by many artists such as Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, Jan Vermeer, and Gustave Courbet. In contrast to his predecessors, Kvium is not depicting an idealized and romantic image of an artist but rather he is interested in a humanized painter.
The show reveals what hides under the make-up, behind the mask and the scene. And this is not always pretty! The paintings present unhealthy, grotesque, and deformed bodies that most of all resembles simple flesh. Painter’s Nest uncovers to the audience an exposed painter in his studio.
Photographs By Henrik haven