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ABSURD BIRDS AND OTHER ANIMALS

Thordis Adalsteinsdottir and Svend-Allan Sørensen
March 2 - April 3, 2021

JOIN US FOR THE EXTENDED OPENING ON
FRIDAY MARCH 5 AT 12 - 19
SATURDAY MARCH 6 AT 11 - 17

MEET SVEND-ALLAN SØRENSEN IN THE GALLERY ON SATURDAY MARCH 6!

We will observe all Covid-19 restrictions layed out by the Danish authorities: handsanitiser, social distance, facemasks, number of guests.


 

invite

Finally, we are happy to open SPECTA’s first exhibition 2021: Absurd Birds and Other Animals. Absurd Birds is the overall title of Svend-Allan Sørensen's series of 11 woodcuts of distorted, staggered figurations. In Thordis Adalsteinsdottir's series of drawings, we meet several other animals, who play the main role in a kind of "reversed reality", as the animals replace humans and illustrate human emotional states.

Since 2017, Svend-Allan Sørensen has worked on his ongoing series "Absurd Birds", which so far consists of 11 woodcuts, which have not been exhibited before. The woodcuts are based on old American bird illustrations and are intended as a greeting to the Danish Artist Johannes Larsen (1867-1961). The illustrations have been scanned, printed, and scanned again, so that they appear crooked and shaken, after which they are laser-cut in birch veneer. Sørensen's bird motifs are absurd in their appearance, and they are completely out of step with Larsen’s sweetness and realism. They are quite big, up to 112 x 82 cm, a contrast to the works of Johannes Larsen which was often tiny and never larger than the sheet of paper. They break with our expectations. The woodcuts have a frame that defines the format of the image, and they tell us that we should focus on what goes on within the frame. In this way, the woodcuts borrow from Johannes Larsen's aesthetics. In the process of the works, Svend-Allan Sørensen has used tools that do not belong in the reality of Johannes Larsen. Where he would have used pencil, sticks and woodcut knives, Svend-Allan Sørensen has instead used a computer, scanner, and laser cutter.

In Thordis Adalsteinsdottir's drawings, we are drawn into surfaces of patterned wallpaper, wooden floors, and checkered clothes that both suggest and dissolve the spaces. Here, in a domestic environment, animals appear, which are often engaged in activities such as cleaning up, cleaning, socializing, relaxing. In her drawings, Thordis Adalsteinsdottir seem to switch the familiar balance between animals and humans: the animals do the things that humans normally do, and we are just spectators. In this way, our "cultivated" life is emphasized in a clash with nature: our behavior is full of absurdities and routine activities, and the animals make that behavior clear: they protect themselves with aprons, umbrellas and rubber gloves while smoking, drinking, and talking on the phone. Adalsteinsdottir does not use unnecessary sweetness either, but the situations appear as both a state of things, and absurd and surreal.

It is as if the two artists distort and twist their images to articulate the relationship between nature and culture. Thus, Thordis Adalsteinsdottir's colorful drawings and Svend-Allan Sørensen's black and white woodcuts combined offer us concrete-absurd images of a crazy contemporary.

Thordis Adalsteinsdottir (IS, 1975) is currently part of the exhibition Raw Power at Reykjavik Art Museum, and she has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, including The Knoxville Museum of Art, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo, Den Frie Udstilling in Copenhagen, Konstakademien in Stockholm, The Royal College of Art in London, Stux Gallery in New York, Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Los Angeles, Nunu Fine Art Gallery in Taipei and in SPECTA, who will also present her works at CHART art fair later this year. Thordis Adalsteinsdottir lives and works in New York and in Reykjavik.
Svend-Allan Sørensen (DK, 1975) lives and works in Odense, DK, and he has numerous exhibitions in Denmark and beyond, including at Museum Jorn, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Johannes Larsen Museum, Scandinavia House, NY, SPECTA. Sørensen has received The Queen Sonja Nordic Art Award and his works are found in collections such as The New Carlsberg Foundation, The National Gallery of Denmark, H.M. Queen Sonja Art Collection, NO, The Danish Arts Agency and Museum Jorn. In March 2021 Svend-Allan Sørensen exhibits solo at galleri Lene Bilgrav in Aarhus, DK.

The exhibition is generously supported by L.G Foght's Foundation.