Art | Scenery at & Model Gallery – minimalism gone too far

photo: John Skoog

2/5 Stars

& Model is quite the trendy contemporary art gallery, you can deduce it from their opening times alone (Wednesday-Saturday, 2-5pm, or by appointment). Spread over three floors this month is the work of eight artists from Scandinavia curated around the concept of scenery. This term is divided into four ideas: landscape, the set of a play, a scene in a film or a social situation.

The works on the ground floor seem, however, to suggest another reading of the term scenery. The bright colourful paper that makes up Delights by Amalie Jakobsen and Jon Erik Nyjholm’s rice paper prints Mirrored Translations suggesting the idea of scenery and landscapes as surface, on which something might happen.

Walking up to the first and second floors a clear dichotomy marks the pieces on show. John Skoog’s two short films are atmospheric landscapes of sounds and silences, heightening in every scene the surrounding sound over any dialogue. The noise dominates the space, demanding attention for itself rather than the other pieces.

The rest is less impressive, with the exception of the maelstrom of greens in a single, small Untitled canvas of Birk Bjørlo. Both David Strenholm’s pieces lay on the floor dead and uninspiring whilst Oskar Jönsson’s A Place of Lost Innocence projects on the wall surface a hypnotic scene of only superficial hold over the viewer.

Scandinavian art does tend towards the minimalist but there is only so much ‘economy of means’ that is possible, or desirable, before crossing the line into no lasting impression. At certain points the artworks of the Scenery show themselves to be a bit too thrifty in telling their story.

Rodolfo Barradas

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