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© Melgaard, Bjarne/BONO

Bjarne Melgaard

New love, old paint ... (Dedicated to Margaux Hemingway) Make me clean again: Some pain poems, the universe according to Paul Gaugin, sex in the artworld and one week of complete misery...

Creation date:1996–1997
Object type:Installasjon
Materials and techniques:tegning, tekstil, kokosnøtter, utklipp, fotografi, bøker, collage, CD-plate, plastbyste
Material: Papir , Kokosnøtt, Ull, Bomull, Metall, Plast
Dimensions:Variable mål
Indexing term:Bildende kunst
Acquisition:Kjøpt 1997
Object no.:MS-03933-1997
Catalog level:Komplekst objekt
Owner and collection:Nasjonalmuseet, The Fine Art Collections
Copyright:© Melgaard, Bjarne/BONO
Photo:Nasjonalmuseet  Download
Part of exhibition:Kunst 2 (NOR), 2005–2007
Absolute Installation (alternative), 2011–2012
Metadata:DigitaltMuseum API

Bjarne Melgaard had his breakthrough in Norway in the 1990s during a time when the socalled Neo-conceptualism was the dominant trend: An idea-based art that stood in opposition to Melgaard’s more spontaneous and emotional form of expression. His work can be seen in the context of a European Expressionist tradition with roots reaching back to the turn of the 20th century and artists such as Edvard Munch and the German Expressionist groups Die Brücke and Der blaue Reiter.

Melgaard is known for being provocative and for pushing the moral pain threshold. His motifs and themes are often based on his own experiences and have clear misanthropic overtones.

The installation New love, old paint … (Dedicated to Margaux Hemingway) Make me clean again: Some pain poems, the universe according to Paul Gauguin, sex in the artworld and one week of complete misery …, 1996-1997 is full of references, content and materials. Rugs and coconuts are strewn across the floor, while the walls are covered with Melgaard’s characteristic drawings. The textiles and drawings give the installation an intimate atmosphere and a private mood. As is so often the case with Melgaard, the work makes several more or less sexually-explicit allusions. The title refers to, among other things, the artist Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), famous for his Polynesian motifs, but also for his somewhat licentious romantic life – with a family in Denmark and mistresses in Tahiti. Both the coconuts and the floating carpets evoke water and more southerly latitudes. If we look at the installation in its entirety, we also recognise an echo of Gauguin’s decorative vocabulary, often referred to as Synthetism – an emphasis on large areas of color, bound together by line.

Text: Line Engen

Bjarne Melgaard had his breakthrough in Norway in the 1990 when the so-called Neoconceptualism was a dominant trend. This was an idea-based art that stood in opposition to Melgaard’s more spontaneous and emotional form of expression, often based on his own experiences. Melgaard is known for being provocative and for pushing the moral pain threshold. His motifs and themes and have clear misanthropic overtones.

The installation is full of references, content and materials. The textiles and drawings give it an intimate atmosphere. The title is long, poetic and fragmented and gives us a number of clues on how to read the installation. One of the references is to the artist Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), famous for his Polynesian motifs, but also for his somewhat licentious romantic life, with a family in Denmark and mistresses in Tahiti. Both the coconuts and the floating carpets evoke water and more southerly latitudes. If we look at the installation in its entirety, we also recognize an echo of Gauguin’s decorative vocabulary.

According to the title, the work is dedicated to Ernest Hemingway’s grandchild, the model and actress Margaux Hemingway. In the same year that Melgaard started working on the installation, she died as the result of an overdose. Is it a room for transgressions Melgaard has created, and that he allows us to look into? A room for agony and for that which may be found in the border area of our limit of tolerance?

Text: Line Engen
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0

Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present