Superbloom. Exhibition view, Galeria Anita Schwartz, Rio de Janeiro 2022.
Photos: Gabi Carrera.
Histoire Naturelle. Exhibition view. Mia Edelgart & Andreas Albrectsen. C.C.C, Copenhagen 2022.
Photos: Brian Kure
Untitled (Bella) 2021 I Graphite pencil on paper, 215,5 x 114,5 cm I
Collection of The New Carlsberg Foundation I Photos: Malle Madsen & Brian Kure.
Materialities of the Weather Forecast
- Anne Kølbæk Iversen, PhD
I believe it was sunny when I went to see Andreas Albrectsen’s exhibition at C.C.C. in Vesterbro, Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago. I had gone swimming in the morning - a new routine I have caught - or that has caught me - during the current lockdown. Even though the weather was fair, compared to how it can be and mostly is in Denmark by early March, I know we didn’t talk about the weather in its typical sense. Instead, I joined the artist and the gallerist in a conversation about the materialities of the weather forecast and how it relates data, visualisation, and "the weather" as an embodied phenomenon or situation.
C.C.C. excels in minimal and often also quite conceptual shows, and Bella is no exception. The exhibition entails two new works, meticulously hand drawn by Albrectsen: the central piece of the exhibition Untitled (Bella) 2021, a single large-scale pencil drawing that is displayed in the front room of the gallery, and the smaller drawing Untitled (UK Forecast) 2020, which is hung in the back - as a b-side or appendix to the main attraction. Both drawings depict predictions of weather, in Europe and the UK, respectively, but are different both in style and in how the data is abstracted and visualized. Where Untitled (UK Forecast) resembles the visualized forecasts you would normally see on TV with the lands of Britain covered by clip-art-like icons for rain - however in black and white - Untitled (Bella) rather resembles a screengrab of a data-stream.
An exhibition displaying weather forecasts seems timely at a moment when most people have grown unaccustomed to small-talk, whilst simultaneously having gained expertise in talking about predictions of infection curves, risk, and exponential growth as they relate to the day-today experience of lockdown and social distancing. With only a single work in the main gallery space and no accompanying text to contextualize the works (and silence the visitor) one is invited to take another look and to share his/her thoughts.
Untitled (Bella) is based on the data-driven predictions and visualizations of a forecast of wind directions, extracted from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts at the end of December 2020, when the storm Bella hit the UK and the Netherlands, as well as parts of Norway and France. In the drawing, the expected wind directions, as well as high and low pressures, are represented by thousands of arrows of differing size, effecting a dynamic flow of distributed movements and shifting intensities across the surface. Reaching wind speeds of more than 100 mph and resulting in flooding chaos across the UK, as well as collapses of electricity lines, the storm Bella provided a dramatic backdrop at the turn of a year marked by corona outbreaks, US presidential elections, and the culmination of Brexit, in addition to otherwise typical anticipations tied up with the turning of a calendar year.
The turbulence of the storm, however, is not directly apparent in the work. In effect, there is a clash between the neutrality of Albrectsen’s work with its quiet drama and the images of flooding and wreckage left by the storm. The represented cartography underneath the arrows: Europe, North Africa, a snippet of Russia and the southern tip of Greenland, lies unaffected by the arrows dancing above it. The black and white technique of the pencil drawing only enhances the abstraction. Bella - a perfect storm, not because of her spectacular, sublime fury, but rather in her guise as information, data.
We talk about the tradition of cloud studies in painting and how the metaphor of “the cloud” inevitably echoes any representation of actual clouds and skies to this day. As a view from above, the work turns traditional studies of clouds and skies upside down, reversing the perspective from a phenomenological, or symbolic, to a scientific and abstract one. Instead of displaying what has been referred to as “psycho-meteorological” states of romantic landscape paintings and literature, it has a matter-of-factness leaving it to the viewer to invest sentiment and meaning. It’s the cloud as a form of thinking. Untitled (Bella) in this way expresses the virtual capacity of the forecast in more than one sense: as an abstracted image far removed from the embodied experience of “the weather” on land or at sea, and as the depiction of a simulated future scenario, which may not be identical to the actual weather to come. A virtual storm, a potential storm, not unlike the potential outbreaks, which governments repeatedly warn against.
Looking at the drawing: its grids and shades and all the lively arrows scurrying over the plane, I try to wrap my mind around the relations between representations and predictions of the sky and the technologies and methods employed to produce them. Even though the numerical predictions of today’s weather forecasts, projecting behaviour of clouds, winds and pressures are not cloud-based, they are the result of thorough and complex correlations of data. Inspired by the contrasts between symbolic and scientific approaches, I cannot help but imagine a weather model based on data collected from on-site mobile devices, combining statistical data with idiosyncratic descriptions and reports.
When standing close, one notices that Untitled (Bella) is equipped with not just one, but two grids: the cartographic grid provided by the forecast service, as well as that of the artist, who has divided the image into no less than 128 fields, each measuring 13,5 x 14,5 cm for his translation of the image to paper. That grid is evidence of the labour inherent in the production of the drawing, a trace of a bodily presence and the human factor in the making of the otherwise abstract visualization. In this respect, the work of Albrectsen connects to Lucy Siyao Liu’s A Curriculum on the Fabrication of Clouds (2017-) and Nanna Debois Buhl’s Cloud Behaviour (2018) and On Thunderclouds (2020), similarly drawing attention to the fabrications of forecasting methods and how human computing relates to increasingly complex computing systems and networks.
Thinking of the layers of virtual images behind the perceivable ones, I emerge back into the soft sunlight of the street. Looking up, there are no arrows and no grids in the sky, only a couple of fluffy white clouds. It’s a beautiful, fair day. Bella.
Untitled (Dynamic Desert II) 2020 I Charcoal and pasteldust on paper, 140 x 246 cm
I Collection of Malmö Art Museum (SE). Photos: Malle Madsen
Untitled (Dynamic Desert) 2020 I Charcoal on paper, 140 x 232 cm I Courtesy of Region Skåne public Art Collection.
Exhibition view: Galleri Arnstedt, May 2020. Photos: Martin Brink.
Untitled (Folders I - II) 2019 I Charcoal on paper, 140 x 232 cm each I Collection of SMK - National Gallery of Denmark.
Exhibition view: Edstranska foundation scholarships 2019. Photos: Youngjae Lih
(...)"The word screensaver gives associations to screen memory or replacement memory. This is a psychoanalytical phenomenon where a completely banal and ‘innocent’ memory has replaced a traumatic one. To maintain the illusion of control, we ‘forget’ the trauma. Ironic, isn’t it? Computers comprise the most effective preservers of memory thought up by man to date, infinitely greater than the metaphor for human memory and knowledge, the brown Library of Alexandria. In the 1950s in Aniara, Harry Martinsson envisaged humanity heading for space with a Mima, a gigantic keeper and viewer of memories as the only guide. At present, we each sit with our personal mimes in our laps. But far removed from the tragic grief of Miman’s guard, we stare into screensavers and recall – nothing. Andreas Albrectsen reminds us of our condition." - Excerpt from text by Gertrud Sandqvist, rector Malmö Art Academy
2020 - 2021 I Graphite pencil & charcoal on sealed paper pads.
26 X 36 cm each I Photos: Malle Madsen & Brian Kure
Reversed Endings is an ongoing series of drawings based on multilingual end-titles from 20th-century films produced during times of ideological censorship. The selected end titles have been mirrored and cross the reading experience - and by doing so, liberates the impasse state of the original image. The drawings are done on the first page of sealed paper pads - adding a physical weight to the work while also referring to a history of closed chapters.
History resembles photography in that it is, among other things, a means of alienation* - Siegfried Kracauer
“Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth.” With this statement, the ancient Greek mathematician and physicist Archimedes described the concept of an ‘Archimedean point’ – a fixed point of reference or hypothetical vantage point. The exhibition Sleeper, which presents works by Andreas Albrectsen and Otavio Schipper, takes as its theme precisely this question of view points, sight and perspective – in particular, that which the Danish historian Søren Mørch has called ‘railway vision’). According to Mørch, ‘railway vision’ – or the ‘modern eye’ – emerges with the invention of the railway and photography. In particular, the new speed of railway travel afforded a radically new view of the landscape, in which the foreground blurs and the horizon appears as a visual constant, a fixed point of reference.
As the title emphasizes, it is precisely the railroad and the lines of the landscape that are important common denominators in this exhibition, while the two artists employ their own independent means of expression and media. The artists not only share a common cultural view point (Schipper is Brazilian with European roots and Albrectsen is half Danish, half Brazilian) but also a common artistic strategy. This has made it possible to create an exhibition where the individual works interact with each other in a dizzying game of associations – toying with concepts such as history, perspective, perception, tracks, memory, constants, infrastructure, communication, modernity, rationality and subjectivity. Both artists work with the shifts of meaning that occur when found objects are isolated, processed and reinserted into new temporal and spatial contexts.
Albrectsen presents two groups of work. The first consists of three frottage-drawings based on film strips of photographic negatives from a trip to the Brazilian railway town of Paranapiacabia, located to the southeast of Sao Paulo. Paranapiacabia is Tupi Native American for ‘a place to view the sea’, and the railway was built with the purpose of transporting coffee beans from the mountains to the coast by the British-owned Sao Paulo Railway Company. The city was built in the mid-1800s by Jeremy Bentham in a Victorian style that included a copy of Big Ben. The railroad had only a short period of glory, however, and was finally decommissioned during the 1970s. Now it stands as a dilapidated memorial to an era of transatlantic trade and industry. The frottage-drawings do not show the content of the negatives. They focus on the morphological characteristics of the film strips, which display some similarities to railroad tracks. The film strips thus appear to be ‘containers’ for a latent travel narrative.
Albrectsen’s other group of works consists of two larger charcoal and pencil drawings on paper. These works are based on snapshots of rainbows found on social media – snapshots taken on the go through car windows. Albrectsen’s slow method of working, where he works across the image stroke by stroke, stands in strong contrast to the ‘instant’ media from which the subject matter originates. The black and white of the drawings distances them further from their motif, with one of them even appearing as a photographic negative depicting a black rainbow – a kind of de-masking of nature’s spectacle or a glance into another dimension.
Otavio Schipper’s installation La Ciotat can be described as something in-between a materialized coordinate system, a physics experiment, a painting by de Chirico and the Flying Dutchman. The work consists of a piece of train track placed horizontally on the floor with railway nails cast all around, a vertical iron bar attached to the track as a ‘mast’, a long silver chain connecting the mast to the wall and a pair of pince-nez presented with embossed dollar coins from 1890 as lenses. The title refers to one of the first films in history, by the Lumière brothers – L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat – which shows a train arriving at the La Ciotat railway station. The film has become legendary because of the allegedly violent effect it had on cinema-goers of the time, who were overwhelmed by the film’s ‘realism’. In addition, Schipper shows other smaller works such as the wall installation The Modern Eye. This work consists of a pair of antique eyeglasses and a silver chain which, as a medium that appears to be something between an eyeglass cord and a telegraph wire, connects a wall-mounted series of old, handmade electrical insulators.
Otavio Schipper has a background in physics, and his works are often inspired by Einstein’s thought experiments involving both trains and elevators – experiments that laid the basis for his theories of relativity. Similarly, Schipper’s works can also be described as thought experiments, albeit in a materialized form. In his installations, he stages a selection of ‘constants’ (i.e., things that come from an earlier ‘analogue’ era, such as telephone poles, train tracks and telegraph machines) in various combinations and contexts, thereby constructing an alphabet of things. - Lotte Møller, art historian (Mag. art)
* Siegfried Kracauer, History. The Last Things Before the Last, Princeton 2014, p. 5
* Søren Mørch, Vældige ting –63 fortællinger om verden, som den er, Kbh. 2009, pp. 51-59
(...) "It is remarkable how digital speed has overtaken railway vision. Had we been confronted with a Twitter user’s image of a rainbow, the picture would have captured our gaze for only a millisecond before being discarded by the swipe of an index finger. However, Andreas Albrectsen, by stark contrast, lets us grasp the world slowly. Through zealously executed drawings of rainbow snapshots found on social media, he presents us with his radical devotion to the appearances of this world. The gentleness of the line shifts our patterns of perception, allowing for an intimacy with the subject that exposes its complexity.
The rainbow’s multi-coloured arch is formed when water reflects and refracts light, causing the light waves to bend. As white sunlight the colours neutralise each other, but the rainbow disperses the various colours from the highest to the lowest wavelength: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. It is worth noting that Andreas Albrectsen has drawn the rainbow in black and white, so that the colours die away to recompose again as white light. But the rainbow seems to have disappeared, as if its white line points to its own absence. Albrectsen, however, compensates for the loss with a negative version next to it. Like a black serpent the rainbow suddenly becomes matter again, while the rest of the landscape suffers a loss of presence. Along with Albrectsen’s hatched negative film rolls, the dark rainbow plays havoc with our definition of a negative landscape and points to a parallel world invisible to the eye.
Chasing rainbows means pursuing unrealistic goals. Man has forever been drawing rainbows in an attempt to capture them – a pursuit of rainbows in a metaphorically as well as a literal sense. The craving to be able to observe the world objectively, plotting out exact truths about it, corresponds precisely to the longing for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But the matter that makes up our world is neither created to be, nor can it be imprisoned as, fact alone, and the rainbow excellently demonstrates this. A rainbow is an optical manifestation caused by the refraction of light and having no geographical location its appearance depends on the observer’s position. It is thus the result of three phenomena: light, water and viewpoint, which testifies to the fact that man’s experience of the world is developed in the encounter with materiality. The rainbow cannot be kept isolated from this encounter, for then it will not exist. Upon seeing its colours we are forced to realise that we are connected to the rest of the world, which cannot be contained in a fancy system of isolated facts. Art, on the other hand, can open the door to a connected and complex world because of its outstanding expertise in the art of avoiding straight routes and straight answers. Although Andreas Albrectsen’s rainbow drawings are done in black and white, they make the world less so. For the drawings emphasise the fact that the medium he uses to approach the rainbow causes it to change as a phenomenon. Into dark matter and a white disappearing act." - Excerpt from text by Ida Schyum, art historian (MA)
Cast Away. Galleri Tom Christoffersen, 2018. Group exhibition with Simon Rasmussen, Mia Line,
Jean Marc Routhier, Lydia Hauge Sølvberg, Jóhan Martin Christiansen - Curated by Andreas Albrectsen.
The finicky and time-fixated FedEx employee, Chuck Noland, managed to reach the shore of a deserted island following a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. Here he spends four years of his life having to improvise a modern remake of the life of Robinson Crusoe. By collecting flotsam and developing an intense friendship with Wilson, the volleyball, he manages to make it back to civilisation. Chuck ’No Land’ has officially been resurrected as a human being, but society has long since filled out the void he left behind. Chuck goes from a life as a survivor to one of a living dead – a transparent voyeur in the world. That is the plot in a feature film from 2000 whose title is shared by the exhibition in the second gallery space. The Harvard professor Svetlana Boym describes in The Future of Nostalgia how Hollywood often reverts to the story of aboriginal people in nature – in tandem with the emergence of computer-generated images. Since the release of Jurassic Park (1993) up to, and including, Avatar (2015), a post-apocalyptic pattern within technology and nostalgia has emerged in the American film industry. With the spread of 3D printing, relief presentation has undergone a democratisation process. In theory, anything can be designed from home and given a manipulated spatiality. A tool with which to materialise not only our basic needs but also our longings. In the exhibition ‘Cast Away’, the five artists’ work form a fragmented anatomy. The material DNA of the works is industrial, digital, and organic. The artists have used steel, concrete, plaster, clay, paper, chewing gum, and cyberspace, respectively. A common feature shared by the works is a bodily memory that is visible or implied. Moreover, all contributions to the exhibition are based on existing models or ‘ready-mades’ – e.g. drawings, photos, or found objects.
- Full text by Andreas Albrectsen found here
How To Move Forward? Exhibition overview .
Big Brother Brazil, Hurricane Irma, the Truman Show, and DIY slime: the motifs of Andreas Albrectsen’s meticulous works in carbon, pencil, and pigment powder range widely. Albrectsen found the inspiration for his works in Google’s image search tool based on the company’s own Year in Search 2017: statistics on the issues, people, films, etc. most frequently searched for. In other words, a kind of statistical evidence of the themes most often entered in the search field of the Internet giant. In all their almost tragicomic diversity, Albrectsen’s works directly address our times: how we consume and search, are worried and entertained – as individuals and as humankind.’Privacy is political’ people used to say. ’Privacy is marketing’ they probably say at Google. But in Albrectsen’s work, something else is afoot: the mass searches are brought back to the intimate sphere created by the drawings and where questions such as ‘How to move forward?’ perhaps first emerged. In the remediation of the image flows from the news media and the entertainment industry to the authenticity and originality of the drawing, there is a short break from the acceleration of time, searches, money, entertainment. Here the drawing becomes a tool with which to ’look’ – different from scrolling using your index finger on the mouse or, in the case of the phone, your thumb. And this ’looking’ – and sometimes ’overlooking’, forgetting – is a general theme in Albrectsen’s practice, which often circles around themes such as memory and the relationship between history and the contemporaneous as well as the shift in meaning which images, in proper Kuleshov style, are capable of producing in the mind of the viewer.
The works in How To Move Forward? constitute in many ways yet another layer of the surveillance culture represented by Google. It is a partial mapping of the surveillance itself, a fragmented overview of the most pressing issues in a global context, a kind of glimpse of the subconscious of humankind. For what exactly fascinates humankind? What remains forgotten? In 1930, Sigmund Freud published Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (in English: Civilization and Its Discontents) where he described everything that a well-functioning society is unable to deliver, which, in simple terms, can be boiled down to the happiness of the individual. In other words, if you go along with Freud, there is a disparity between the individual and society. What, then, is the relationship that emerges between the individual and society in Albrectsen’s works? Is it the surveillance of the individual – like the two partly anonymised people in an unmade bed – which ultimately contributes to sustaining a society that only functions when everyone is watching everyone else? Or is it the case that society will not function when individuals are allowed to abandon themselves to the quick fixes provided by search engines?The question mark in the exhibition title How To Move Forward? is nothing if not significant. For it is in the very question mark that the works come together. The exhibition is not a ’how to’ guide; it is an open question: How? Where? Whence? Albrectsen’s works do not provide the answers; instead it could be argued that they are working within the context of the question mark: they expose the flaws of the oracle replies offered by the search engines and the blurry boundary between crisis and entertainment, reality and fantasy. Perhaps it is precisely in this questioning space, in the opportunity for critical reflection created by Albrectsen’s works that an alternative to the endless searches can be found. It is not an alternative with no questions asked, but an alternative asking different questions.
– Anna Vestergaard Jørgensen ( MA & PhD Fellow at The National Gallery / University of Copenhagen)
Notes (17.08.01) 2017. Inkjet print on post-it notes I 263 x 380 cm
The work is based on an analogue photo I took as a young tourist from the top of the World Trade Center in New York, August 17th 2001 - a little less than a month before the two towers were destroyed. The dimensions of the photograph has been enlarged so that it matches the height of the WTC window, where it was originally taken. The image has subsequently been manually printed in RGB colour across 1.750 individual canary yellow post-it notes on an ordinary A-4 ink-jet printer and mounted directly onto the wall of the exhibition space. Over the course of two months where the work was shown, the notes slowly lost their grip and fell to the floor, gradually occupying the floor space while changing the apperance of the picture plane from day to day.
"(...) What would have just been a badly framed amateur photo suddenly becomes loaded with meaning and memory of a specific historic event that the image actually does not portray. An event that had not yet taken place when the photo was taken but now in retrospective has attached itself to it. (...) The exhibition not only borrows its title from Herman Melville’s short story Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street from 1853 but is also inspired by the passive resistance that is inherent in the statement. I would prefer not to is a sentence uttered by the story’s main character Bartleby in response tohis boss’ repeated requests; a polite refusal to do his job that grows into a rejection of any form of production or even consumption. Bartleby has since become an example for exerting free will and protesting structural and societal demands of self-discipline disregarding ones own needs. By rejecting demands that are so reasonably expected of him to follow, his behaviour escapes the logic of modern society. We turn to art and artists as our companions in this conversation because art is both praised and criticized for being without use value. Again and again the same debate arises about whether or not the arts are worth taxpayers money. It seems to be a phenomenon that escapes logic and evades conventional measures of value. It is both essential to a society and unnecessary. It can be sold at astronomical prizes and escape economic circulation. Art is paradoxical – a cliché, no doubt – but still a valid observation. It has the potential of being a waste of time, of money or some other form of excess. For this exhibition we have invited a group of artists not because they necessarily escape economic circulation, but because there are elements within their practice, their work process or the art itself escapes and challenges an economic sense of time".- Excerpt from press text by meter Exhibition Space.
Artspace.com Article by Amelia Ames. February 28, 2017. ( Cover photo Courtesy: Mai -Britt Boa)
"In the spirit of Conceptualist de-skilling of artistic production, Albrectsen re-draws black-and-white photographs found via internet image search, rendering them in a hyper realistic manner on paper—just as Richter once did with his "photo-paintings." However unlike the latter two artists' de-subjective approach, Albrectsen’s insistence on the personal nature of his archived photographs asks new questions about memory, appropriation, and subjective interpretation of the past through representation" - Full article here
Paletten. Tidsskrift för Konst no. 2, 2015.
'Art and psychoanalysis, The Rat, The Mother and The Unconscious' - essay by Gertrud Sandqvist.
Works included: Untitled ( White Lie) & Projections
Untitled (White Lie) 2015. Charcoal and graphite on Paper. 114 x 146 cm. (Private Collection)
The broken frieze which constitutes the subject in Untitled (White Lie) is borrowed from Classical Greek Mythology – a fighting scene, symbolizing the struggle between reason and unreason. The motif has been processed by disassembling and piecing the image together in a randomn order.The ressurected motif has then been composed and meticulously reproduced with charcoal and pencil. on paper.
Copy Paste Copy Past. Graduation show, Malmö Art Academy. KHM Gallery I June 2013.
For his graduation show, Albrectsen presents a careful anthology of new and recent works. Alongside his small and meticulous graphite drawings, a new body of poster-sized frottages will inhibit the gallery. Fragments of his studio walls have been manually traced with colored pencils onto thin membranes of Japanese paper. This has been done repeatedly, layer on top of layer, while simultaneously moving the paper sheets slighty from left to right, until a stereoscopic image has been achieved. The frottage drawings are hermetically glued onto the gallery walls, and thus, becoming an integral part of the exhibition space. For Albrectsen, the multi-layered frottage drawings relates back to a history of labor in the studio. He has found inspiration in Bergson's theories on time; how the human ability to self reflect, "to see oneself seeing" is the result of the fundamental doubling of time - perception on one side and memory on the other.