Marianne Vierø's installations at De Bruijne are assemblages of tripods, electric cables, drawings, neon, and vegetables. There is a pattern in the way these bio-linguistic compositions are arranged, a sort of cybernetic order of color and shape that underlies their interactions. Photographs of potato cross-sections marked by geometric shapes are hung on the wall and the same figures echo on the gallery wall (Wall Stamps series), in colors that refer more or less directly to the vegetables sitting on top of the installations (Strict Inequality series). Electric wires and colors seem to be the main link between each artwork, but while the chromatic association might be a little too literal, the biological bump is quite inspiring.
In contemporary art, it is often easy to indulge in a vertiginous meta-linguistic game: a reality inside a reality inside another reality. What I'm saying is, layering an apparently banal experience (e.g. a shape, an image) by framing it multiple times, Matryoshka-style, is a very widespread technique in exhibitions today. Sometimes it's just an experiment in constructing a visual vertigo, showing a picture of a picture of a picture of an object, other times the exhibition space becomes a mix of conceptual and/or pop references, inscribed into a carefully constructed minimal setting.
Marianne Vierø, Strict Inequality; Photo by Nicola Bozzi.
Marianne Vierø's work fits the second description better, something we could also say of artists as different as Martin Creed, Ryan Gander, and Rashid Johnson. Cultural elements, collected according to a specific logic, are inserted into a wider representation, a room-wide installation that leads the viewers to question their own position in such a space, maybe even making them feel a bit self-conscious.
For the past few years, Vierø has been using any medium between photography and sculpture, creating installations or images that misplace ordinary objects to activate unusual associations. The operation might involve linear wooden constructions or flat colored surfaces, books or stickers, two-dimensional reproductions of standard tables or concrete blocks decorated with industrial tiles. The result is a guilty pleasure for the art-goer, the consumer of the cultural surplus now growing off any mass-produced item out there.
Marianne Vierø, installation view at Ellen De Bruijn Projects; Photo by Nicola Bozzi.
The Danish artist's practice reminds me of other shows I've seen in Amsterdam in the last couple of years: Anouk Kruithof (whom I also interviewed for ArtSlant) and Jan De Cock, whose Repromotion show at Fons Welters in 2010 staged a much more cluttered yet fascinating environment. Both, like the Amsterdam-based Vierø, managed to suck me into their own philosophically-titillating yet rhetorically-cryptical dimension. To get lost in their system is always a nice trip, but when you step out of the gallery and the vertigo is over it's also a relief. The self-reference of art is much harder to deal with outside of the white cube.
(Image at top: Marianne Vierø; Courtesy of the Artist and Ellen de Bruijne Projects)