Galerie Gabriel Rolt is proud to present Don’t Sleep On your Moon, an exhibition of new work by Amsterdam-based artist Nik Christensen. Christensen’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery will run from Saturday March 8th through April 12th.
Christensen creates his trademark sumi ink works on paper. These rambling, often larger-than-life pieces contain haunting imagery that straddles the line between the natural and the artificial, the organic and the mechanized, by interspersing intuitive strokes with pixel-like building blocks. It’s a tightrope-balancing act, which Christensen has made even more explicit for the forthcoming exhibition, juxtaposing man and nature, society and isolation both in his methods and in his imagery.
Case in point is the title piece Don’t Sleep On Your Moon. This almost two by three metres monochrome displays a group of men sitting at the waterfront in a forest, surrounded by piles of books. The ordered piles behind the men are contrasted by a chaotic heap of books in front of them, just as the wild outgrowths of the forest and its reflection in the water are interspersed with pixel-like blocks of blacks and greys. These ambivalences create an atmosphere of enlightenment amidst wilderness, like a group of post-apocalyptic, survivalist intellectuals sorting through the last remnants of human knowledge.
Ostensibly more light-footed in theme and imagery is Tomorrow Right Now, another large piece displaying a procession of festive men and women, carrying a guitar-playing figure adorned with a multitude of hats. Yet despite the tongue-in-cheek details and the playful procession itself, doubt will soon be creeping in. Why is that long line of cheering figures with arms raised in triumph preceded by despondent carriers with clothes like ribcages? Something’s off, and that eerie feeling is enhanced by the wild mountains in the background, alternating rock-like formations with horizontal and vertical stripes.