“The best place to hide anything is in plain sight”
-Edgard Alla Poe

 

From February 2 to March 10, at the Kunsthall Charlottenborg space in Copenhagen, many works of numerous different artists were exhibited, for the annual “Spring Exhibition MMXVII 2”. By visiting this exhibition, it is possible to have different and multiple suggestions and sensations. Curiosity, in particular, I think is one of the most relevant sensations, and it was certainly the feeling that led me in particular towards the work of one of these artists: Rune Bering. He is a young Danish artist who, after embarking on a training aimed primarily at design, graphics, and architecture, understands what his interests really are, and totally shifts his gaze.

Rune is in fact able to move and apply his knowledge, including technical skills, of his first training, in the strictly artistic field, and if we want we can define “conceptual”. Immediately it is possible to recognize the originality of his practice; in fact, he presents in this exhibition seven different installations, all created through sticky words of considerable size. These sentences, as he will explain, mainly concern the spheres of “money” and “sex”, so they are very explicit and direct, so that they can be felt as vulgar. “This is why” he also explains, how “some people are not used to look at art in these terms, and they are not used to deal with phrases like ‘I want to fuck’ or ‘I don’t want a relationship, I want sex’. So they often probably ask to themselves ‘What’s wrong with this guy? Is he freak or he simply doesn’t believe in love?’”.

 

Installation view, Rune Bering, Kunsthal Charlotenborg, 2018. Photo by Gregorio Vignola

He seems to find it interesting that his works are not immediately classifiable and “digestible” and this is probably the aspect of the written word that Rune finds fascinating, and also by the reactions of detachment and distance that such works, may be, can provoke into the visitor. “Through ‘Unicode’, the computers are able to read any kind of thing or sentence, but some people realized that if is changed with another “glyph” or mark, the computer is no longer able to read it. Instead, for us, the sentence is still readable and understandable, so, we can read them, but computers can not read them. So, that´s why they look like that”.

He has always been interested in positions and roles between technology and the digital world, compared to man. In this case, in fact, he positions himself as an “intermediary” between the two realities, reporting sentences taken directly from e-mails and “spam” messages, re-proposing them in a totally different context.

 

Installation view, Rune Bering, Kunsthal Charlotenborg, 2018. Photo by Hampus Per Berndtson

Precisely in this sense the idea of “readymade” (or digital readymade as Rune defines it) is in this case applied to the written digital element, allowing the artist to take the sentences as they are, and proposing them in another context. Responding to my question about what is the recognizable element attached to the contemporaneity, Rune replies “It born mainly from the interaction between human and the digital  ‘era’, and the choice to treat topics as ‘sex’ and ‘money’, is also connected to this point of view on the contemporaneity.

The starting could be recognized into my interest about the situation of wish that belong to people who are fought by the instinct to click on this kind of spam, guided by the desire for beautiful girls and sex, and the rational part, which knows it is only a spam”. In addition, the artist adds, “this is for me a sort of way to interact with them”. Therefore a point of view would appear to be added to the real experience connected to these works, and sentences, and contexts that collide.

 

Installation view, Rune Bering, Kunsthal Charlotenborg, 2018. Photo by Hampus Per Berndtson

In fact, this practice is promptly chosen by the artist to separate himself from the more “typical” beautiful and contemplated object, within the white cube. Moreover he wants to create relationships between places and contexts, playing with them. In fact he decides to hide his works rather than show them as almost every artist does. Following just what is the “philosophy” of spam, it is possible to trace his works only by looking for them, and if it were not for the labels bearing the captions, it would probably be an almost impossible challenge, so much that Rune himself confirms that he has not yet met no one who has found them all seven.

GV:” Rune, if you had the possibility of a space to manage as you want, would you have used also the plates near your work, or not? Because actually this small and perhaps obvious element becomes fundamental in a reality like the one you create.”

RB:” this is actually a good question. No, probably not. Clearly in this case I did not have much choice being an institutional space. But certainly if I could have made a decision on this too, it would have been an element that I would have eliminated from the exhibition. In fact it tends to be an element in contrast with my work, as you known.”

Installation view, Rune Bering, Kunsthal Charlotenborg, 2018. Photo by Hampus Per Berndtson

 

In particular, he explains to us, how he was partly influenced and intrigued by the event among the largest in Europe, the Skulptur Projecte of Munster. In this singular event, art is combined with the urban and shared space, as if it were an enormous artistic performance, in which everything seems to participate actively. Rune tells us how even he himself was stupid and sometimes in difficulty, in recognizing in that particular context, what was part of the pre-existing urban space, and what was art instead.

Even the artist´s personal experience, as well as his look and artistic interest, intertwine with the technological and digital element. He tells how he was amazed at the difference in feedback, with reference to his work, between real dialogue and that, for example, on social media. It makes us understand how he is actually attracted to negative criticism, but that it is often difficult to have a real and sincere feedback of the work, in the reality. The digital element, in this case, seems to be something very useful and revealing. Also in this sense, he seems to continue to play on the limit of the visible and the invisible, in particular for how it does with language/writing, and especially with digital.

 

Installation view, Rune Bering, Kunsthal Charlotenborg, 2018. Photo by Hampus Per Berndtson

Rune´s curiosity, and his artistic gaze, seems to take him to the oppositions. As he tells us, and as we can see, visible and not, material and not, right and not, are always present in his research. In this specific case, he seems to want to underline and bring to light (and thus reveal) digital (usually invisible) functioning, but then to hide his work recovering the real nature of the object treated.

Through an interesting chat with this young artist, we were able to get a little more into his research and his art. In a tangle of reality, often coexisting and opposing, we learn how he, through his point of view and his creative work, moves in the contemporary, giving us new elements to be able to see and approach his interesting artistic work.

 

Gregorio / Kunstportal

 

 

Sources

Direct dialogue with the Artist
Exhibition catalogue

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