Navid Nuur, Emanuel Röhss, Amanda Ross-Ho, Fredrik Værslev presented by Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen & SALTS
20 Jun – 21 Jul 2014

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Opening: 19 June 2014, from 6 – 10 pm

Giovanni Carmine from Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen and Samuel Leuenberger from SALTS present a group show of artists Navid Nuur, Emanuel Röhss, Amanda Ross-Ho and Fredrik Værslev. Titled Picture This, the exhibition title was chosen as a way to encourage the viewer to encounter the interwoven poetry that might or might not emerge during a given viewing. The exhibition emphasizes the complementary, sometimes similar performative strategy the four artists explore during the making and displaying of their work. Here, the medium can be understood as a meditation on the material, while nourishing an elementary relationship to sculpture, yet retaining a strong interest in the discourse of painting. Material against surface, automated layering, forms against holes, remnants of past stories, monochrome patterns, all the works presented are concerned with the removal, translation and poetisation of gestures. Although formally referring to abstraction, the works bear a strong figurative load, if only suggested, by the various props and anecdotes that surround them. This genesis, far from being abstract, creates the narratives that precedes or follows the making of each work.

Emanuel Röhss’ Knut Ljungfelt and Mother Sweden, form a two-part painting installation which create a sort of double-portrait; side by side, they are laid flat on top of a low structure. Röhss's paintings are often adapting to the architectural features of the space he exhibits in. Here at SALTS, they are turned into flat landscape, which occupy the center of the space, creating a strong interaction, almost like a meeting point for all the surrounding works. The paintings' titles are based on people the artist knows and they reflect a pseudo scientific investigation into the colour scheme of his 'friend's' domestic interiors. The artist selects images from his archive and filters out the the four most dominant hues present inside these people's homes. The light situation in the photographs are determining a lot in the final color information but at the end his interest lays primarily in the relation to the idea of peoples subjective taste and how that is manifest in their domestic realm. Once this research is established, the artist rigoursly works the foundation of the canvas before spraying the canvas in the different layers, alluding to the idea of the photographic, his painterly gesture become one inspired by the digital pixelation that is imbedded in the source material.

Responding to Röhss dual work, Navid Nuur’s works are stretched raw linen canvas', always hung next to an Iphone. As suggested by their titles, Smoke Bomb Painting I, they are part of a series which were generated while exposed to smoke bombs as part of his exhibition at OUI Center of Contemporary Art in Grenoble. A room hung full of raw canvas' he detonated various coloured smoke bombs documenting the process with his Iphone from afar, his looped video which are usually hung as pendent with his painting take witness of the mechanical aggression the works were exposed to, the process which made them all unique works wihtin the same outset. Sharing some formal similarities with Navid Nuur’s works, Fredrik Værslev’s Untitled paintings also bears the physical marks or scars of its making. Værslev's painting are made flat on the floor and like Röhss are sprayed on the one hand and hand-worked on the other, these canvas' are soaked in white spirit to the degree that they can be reworked for a long time and by applying different pressure on the spray can, he controls the amount of paint that can exit the can. The size of his drippings and moreover the re-working of the various parts, lets him add and subtract paint until his compostions are deemed finished compositions. His paintings are a always a mix between chance encounters, the outdoors and weathering effects on his pieces and on the other hand by the determined mark makings taken from industrial processes.

Following her long-term interest for assemblages that combine painted artifacts with everyday objects, Amanda Ross-Ho’s Untitled Textile Arrangement (Towel Rack) is a typical wall towel rack as one might find in a hotel room, in which the artist squeezes rolled-up towels which have been painted over. The Sprinkled, washed-away and sprayed colors applied on a material that evokes a daily ritual, combines the artistic gesture to the banal, implying a story one can never entirely grasp, but only imagine. A stack of rolled up towels create a progression of modular quality, regreasing from bigger to smaller the further up the composition runs. The second work by Ross-Ho, Sieve #4, (SHITHOLE), 2012, is part of a series of dropcloths which have been laundered and then embellished with various materials, and hung directly on the wall with simple thumbtacks that are selected from the studio as well and maintain a patina of use. The artist described this work herself as some of her most authentic primary works done in the studio compared to her more later, orchestrated and invented compositions. Both works speak to the designated space the viewer is found within when looking at painting, something she purposully deconstructs on an anatomical level to some degree.

Emanuel Röhss (born in 1985 in Gothenburg, Sweden) lives and works in London. David Nuur (born in Teheran in 1976) lives and works in the Hague.
Amanda Ross-Ho (Born in 1975, Chicago, IL) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Fredrik Værslev (born in 1979, Moss, Norway) lives and works in Oslo and Vestfossen.

Photography: courtesy Gunnar Meier