Lars Christensen’s second solo show with Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie is yet another fascinating tour through the vast engine room of contemporary painting. This time he turns the gallery into an installation with a focus on black and white paintings, where the subtle interaction between the architecture of the gallery – space and light – and the works themselves is pivotal. The consistent omission of colour intensifies the contemplative aspects in the paintings, as they now appear almost stripped bare in front of the viewer. The chromatic language of only black and white delineates the other dichotomies inherent in the works such as light/shadow, surface/depth, and optical/physical.
In “Black/White/White/Black”, Lars Christensen continues to explore and evolve his alternative version of the expanded painting. The acrylic paint in all its hyper-pastosity takes center-stage rather than supporting the habitual leading acts of painting such as depiction or abstraction. These are paintings not showing but just being. Christensen perforates his canvases with thousands of little holes, subsequently using a spatula to press the paint through them from the back. This produces a carpet of paint-threads through which the original surface, the canvas or the paper, remains visible at all times – thus creating a kind of double image emphasizing transparency as a subject matter.
Christensen’s method not only concerns the front of the painting as the paint protrudes all the way around the sides. This tactile abundance and voluptuousness invite interaction beyond the purely visual. In fact they require the viewer to move around, observing the paintings from various angles, thus tracing the process of their making. Christensen’s paintings seem to be halted in the moment following their creation, still radiating from action and pace. Up close the diverse threads of paint almost still seem to quiver as gravity gives the entire surface a slight incline, imbuing it with an impression of organic frailty and emphasizing its materiality. The investigation of what makes up a painting always permeates Christensen’s work.
Lars Christensen (DK, 1972) lives and works in Copenhagen. His paintings are in The National Danish Art Foundation, Ny Carlsberg Foundation, Copenhagen Cultural Fund, Nykredit Collection, Denmark. He co-curated ”Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks”, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen, in 2008. A catalog of his recent works was published in 2014.