DAVID DELLAGI: THE CARNIVAL - PRESS RELEASE
KIKshh, SCT HANS CHAPEL 8 - 23 April 2017
The Carnival presents new paintings, films and sculptures by David Dellagi.
The exhibition takes its inspiration from the carnival, the circus, the freak show and the cabaret. The Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin is renowned for his interpretation of the medieval carnival as characterized by satire, rebellion and protest against existing norms. This interpretation permeates the exhibition. Dellagi acknowledges that this is a reaction to a dominant trend in contemporary art, namely the recycling of styles and motifs characteristic of the pioneers of classical Modernism, such as Matisse and Picasso. He engages in a discussion with this current trend, its embracement of the art historical mainstream and its implicit rejection of the esoteric, the misfit and the peripheral. He goes back to the source, providing a different take on the use of classical Modernism; in a series of large-scale paintings marionette puppets, animal carcasses, clowns, infantile characters and different styles are interwoven with Matisse's compositions.
Artists’ assaults on other artists’ iconic artworks are not without precedent, the primary example perhaps being Duchamp’s adding a moustache to a reproduction of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, in his ready-made L.H.O.O.Q. (1919). In Dellagi’s case, however, "the assault" seems to open up full-bodied, multilayered narratives and is therefore rather a fusion of diverse sensibilities and aesthetic standpoints. Inside the works of Matisse, he has placed Chinese boxes of narratives and visual reference points, all pointing in the direction of the weird and to esoteric detours, certainly as a counterpoint to Matisse's relatively prosaic motives, such as everyday life in the artist’s studio, fruit bowls and nude models.
Following this, the cut-out animation short film Madisse utilises Matisse's color saturated universe as the backdrop to a mysterious crime thriller, sometimes infantile slapstick comedy, sometimes science fiction tale - with narrative threads that are inexplicably cut off and picked up again. The unique meeting between Matisse’s ornamental flat style and the carnivalesque pops out in full bloom in the figures and objects – executed in wood - that are spread over the floor of the chapel's nave, evoking associations to both stage sets and a carnival procession, as well as to collage elements detached from their background. Thus, the juxtapositions of highly diverse visual expressions aim at encouraging the viewer to reflect on the possibility of aesthetic transformation of conventional thinking and taste.
Jeppe Kruse is the curator of the exhibition, which is co-sponsored by Kulturpuljen Roskilde.
David Dellagi works with painting, sculpture, collage and film. He has exhibited at Skive Kunstmuseum, Rønnebæksholm, Kunstbygningen i Vrå, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art, Marie Kirkegaard Gallery, Galleri Christoffer Egelund, The Danish Graphics Association as well as in New York, London, Los Angeles, Stockholm and Mexico City.