OLE TERSLØSE COMBINES CURIOSITY WITH HOMESAFE VISUALS, TRIGGERING HIS AUDIENCE TO RETHINK THEIR RELATION TO NATURE, AND TO THEM SELVES.
CARMEN HUST | ARTICULATE PROMOTE | JUNE 2020
The Danish artist Ole Tersløse opens his solo exhibition CATCH on June 27 at the new gallery Hoejbjerg & Simmelsgaard in Hobro. He writes in the press release that everyone knows the sentimental image of a little boy fishing with a bamboo rod. The primitive fishing gear suggests that he is unlikely to catch anything and adds a conciliatory edge to the scene. After all, it's just for fun that he's fishing. However, in Ole Terslose's solo exhibition CATCH, which includes both sculptures and large inkjet prints, the play turns bloody serious in an artistic "chess game" with clearly defined pieces but absurd, contradictory points, true to the ancient Greek mythological symbols he interprets. Terslose re-activates ancient myths in his haunting computer-generated imagery and challenges us to ponder our own relationship to nature. We’ve met Ole Tersløse and interviewed him about his motives for interpreting the old symbols and mythologies, but with the child as the main narrative.
I think there are many reasons why I chose this form language.
First of all, I am extremely tired of the authenticity worship in contemporary art. Many artists still live in an anachronistic notion that the ugly, the raw, and the flawed are closer to reality and are more true and sincere than its contradiction. I don't think we can say anything about that.
I do not mean that we as artists have a privileged access to the real. A work of art remains a physical expression of a mental construct.
Within the field of sculpture, there is a distinctive realism cultivation, in particular the Australian sculptor Ron Mueck (1958) as the front figure. I don't think I fully understand why it has become hot again to try to depict reality realistically, and at least it is a struggle that one as an artist is doomed to lose. By avoiding too many details of my characters - avoiding wrinkles and "beauty spots" - I mark that the works are not created in the desire for a "deep realism".
The fetish object is interesting because it is difficult to relate to sizes outside its own space. By giving the works this character, I hope they become very decodable, difficult "to get rid of", so that you keep returning to them to discard them new meanings.
The ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake or serpent eating its own tail, variously signifying infinity and the cycle of birth and death.
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First, there is the obvious common feature that all works are created in 3d programs in the computer. The elements in the pictures could as well have been printed in 3d, and the sculptures could have been depicted in 2d (pictures).
In addition, I am very conscious of the surface of the works. All the works have a glossy finish, which in a way forms a visual armor around them. You can get close, but never completely close to the figures. For the pictures, of course, the glass forms "armored", in the sculptures it is a glossy varnish, but the effect is a bit the same.
In many ways, children mark an area of recognition. We have all been children, but with our adult emotional lives, we can paradoxically no longer feel what it was like to be a child. We often fall short as we try to describe the child's psyche. Is the child innocent, is it untouched, or is it just us who as adults would like to project these characteristics into the child?
The glossy finish of my works forms a form of protective film on the subject. In a way, we have been denied access to the child's universe, which appears as a lost world. We remember we have been there, but no longer remember, feel and sense what it was like.
The evil child and the innocent adult - at least it's an interesting thought ...
Seated at the forefront, we must be evil to survive. We literally have to kill other organisms to get something to eat. We must also have a vibe and try to keep competitors away from our territory.
The child, who of course has to provide for his own survival just like everyone else, is neither worse nor better than adults in this regard.
When we associate children with innocence, it is probably most of all because they have not yet learned to simulate. After all, if this is innocence, adults can also come out of the closet and express their feelings and thoughts without embrace. My guess is that as adults we reveal our feelings far more often than we want to, so maybe we should talk about "innocent adults" more often.
In Greek mythology, Medusa; "guardian, protectress", was one of the three monstrous Gorgons, generally described as winged human females with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Those who gazed into her eyes would turn to stone. It’s said that she, herself turned into stone after watching her own reflection.
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You can safely assume that ... When we find the fishing child innocent, it's probably because we see him from the outside. That he fishes with bamboo canes and earthworms and not with fly, as many adults do, emphasizes to us that it is a breeze.
However, the child will not play the game unless he hopes to catch something. Like the adult, he must try to hide from the fish biting the hook. He must find the places in the creek where the prey resides, without the prey seeing him.
In other words, he has already "made investments" in an adult pattern of behavior that is about pretense, about fooling the enemy, and which many of us probably find it difficult to associate with innocence.
The transformation is most evident in the Medusa Child. A large sculpture of a boy riding on an earthworm. Instead of the classic Medusa, which has snakes like hair, the child has earthworm hair.
The decisive factor in the transformation is that there are a number of significant steps that can open up new interpretations of both the classical symbols and the works themselves.
After all, the Medusa Child who aggressively manages the worm by means of a hook in the neck, must himself be related to the worm, when he has worms like hair. It is suggested that all living beings are related, and that is precisely why the basic conditions of existence - that we must fight many of the other family members in order to survive - are basically ethically unacceptable.
The classic Medusa fossilized as she saw her own terrifying mirror image. The myth could in figurative form imply the self-realization that we cannot make, since the "truth" of who we are is unbearable to us. Perhaps it is equally unbearable to recognize the aggressiveness of the little child fishing, for we see here a hideous mirror image of human nature. But conversely, he is not a real Medusa, precisely because the snakes have become earthworms, and it casts a euphemistic glow over the scenery.
The transformation from snake to worm opens so to speak up for a number of interpretations, but also a number of uncertainties about these. And as always when you can't make things fit, you have to return to the work and see if there was anything you had overlooked.
However, unlike the traditional ouroboro's representations, the child does not appear to be a picture of something harmoniously completed. His face is covered in fury and pain. The recognition that we often "bite ourselves in the tail" is hard for him to swallow.
You could probably put that in the works, but I would rather say that I try to address the issues before they are formulated politically.
Political art has a hard time, because according to its own self-understanding it signifies a revolt against the rulers but can only be exhibited and disseminated to the extent that it does not really offend the power elite.
I once read a review of an exhibition by Chilean artist Marco Everisti (1963). The reviewer wrote that the exhibition was "pleasantly provocative". I have a hard time seeing how a provocation can be appropriate, since it should precisely actualize the unappreciated, what we cannot deal with.
The strange thing, however, is that the writer with the peculiar wording nevertheless says something important about contemporary art. It must be "suitable" provocative - so it basically doesn't provoke anyone, you are tempted to add. Finally, it must not be too much ...
The custom provocation is very pronounced in much of the political art, where messages of every high schooler learned to emerge in the world are launched, as if they were expressions of dangerous rebel tendencies of the fearless art partisans.
It is the same conditions that are be criticized again and again, and it is almost by law which groups in society who are to be perceived as evil and who are vulnerable and require special care. If the box is thought out, and the politically correct habitual thinking is broken, people become "inappropriate" and then the provocation is no longer "appropriate".
To avoid being struck by this involuntary irony, I would much rather work with basic existential themes that have not been ideologically reformulated. Some would think that we cannot signify anything in life without disclosing a particular relationship to a particular ideology - I would take my point of view in defense and believe that the affiliation may be more or less prominent ...
Ole Tersløse – CATCH
HOEJBJERG & SIMMELSGAARD
27.06 - 30.08 2020
HOEJBJERG & SIMMELSGAARD
The gallery of Hoejbjerg & Simmelsgaard is devoted to the promotion of contemporary art – in particularly object-art, conceptual art and installations. They show sensually appealing along with conceptually challenging artworks, introducing their audience to the widest possible variety of contemporary art practices.
The gallery is run by Klaus Højbjerg and Janus Simmelsgaard – MA in Art History and BA in Ceramic Design, respectively.