Think of the work of Finnish artist Erkka Nissinen and what comes to mind are the brightly colored images of his video works, like Vantaa, in which he stars as a rubber faced dwarf/monk named after the Hungarian composer Arnold Schoenberg, who roams through a not so nicely rendered digital village where penisses can be confused with xylophones and flowers can talk, all in search for his stolen yoghurt. In the new show at Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Erkka transcends the borders of video art to create a multimedia installation in which video projections are integrated with light, sound and oil paintings.
Nissinen previously exhibited at the Dolores project space of Ellen de Bruijne in 2008, where he showed four video works under the title Absolute Moron. The Finnish artist is known for creating his own absurd world visions through means of video images. He often combines scenes enacted in a studio with digitally rendered images and animations into one rough video work with a home-made look and feel to it. In one video, Nissinen, this time dressed up in a track suit, with fake mustache and curly wig, lectures us on the social construct of reality, while in another, a panda, a cook and a prostitute are abducted by an institution that confronts them with their moral and ethical positions in society. Recently Nissinen showed two video installations at 1646 in The Hague, in an exhibition titled Rigid Regime. What at first glance looks like a home movie featuring the artist and a prostitute with giant (I mean enormous!) breasts, appears to be a fragment from a porno with a picture of the artist’s head photoshopped on top of the actor’s torso.
Though absurd to the point of nonsense and often obscene, his work is far from being meaningless. Rather, it discloses a critical take on the difficulties of social interaction, on philosophy, and on the language of media -such as children’s television, educational programs, or porn, often all mashed up into one. Since his first exhibition at this gallery Nissinen’s work has possibly grown up a bit, at least if growing up means getting even more confusing and obscure, slightly more brutal and more free in displaying bodily fluids.
Erkka Nissinen (Finland, 1975) lives and works between Helsinki, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam. From 2007-2008 he spent two years as a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam after having graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in London and the Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki. Some of his most recent shows include the solo ‘Rigid Regime’ at 1646 in Den Haag, ‘Kunst Kaapt Fort’ at KAAP, Fort Ruigenhoek in Groenekan, and ‘Stranger Things Are Happening’ at Aspex in Portsmouth.
Opening Saturday 10 April 17-19h
Gallery Hours Tue-Fri 11-18h / Sat 13-18h
1st Sunday of the month 14-17h
NL-1016 LZ Amsterdam
Vincent Vulsma – 141 ˚E
It is very well possible to come across Asmat shields in the carefully staged private décors of Dutch households. Popular for their crude abstractions, these exotic artefacts adorn walls like paintings, proudly resonating our modernist masters, as well as nourishing hints of nostalgia and echoing the rich ethnographic collections of our ubiquitous colonial history museums.
In Dolores, Vincent Vulsma (1982) is presenting his latest work 141˚E. The work takes its cue from the division of the island of New Guinea in roughly equal halves along the 141st meridian by the Dutch in 1848. The western half of the island –now called Papua- was claimed by the Netherlands and was under Dutch colonial administration until 1963 when it was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia as an outcome of decolonization politics, burdening the Papuan peoples with yet another oppressor.
This specific incision into the political flesh of the island and a more general idea of mapping as an instrument for appropriation and the reproduction of claims inspired Vulsma to come up with a method for the reconfiguration and (re-)distribution of an artefact of particular taste. This ritual Asmat shield, made around Mid-Twentieth Century by a small headhunting tribe located around the Brazza River in Indonesian New Guinea, was recently acquired through the museum shop* of the Wereldmuseum, an colonial institution in Rotterdam.
Having passed through many hands since its relocation from the tribal village -back and forth between dealers and various kinds of collectors who continuously recalculate the accumulation of its market value- the shield is ultimately cut in two by Vulsma in order to herald its sinister appearance in yet another marketplace.
*The museum shop of the Wereldmuseum has a side function as a commercial gallery for Asian and Primitive Arts with a strong orientation on the specialisations of the collection of the museum.
Vincent Vulsma (Zaandam, 1982) lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. He graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2006 and was a resident at De Ateliers between 2006 and 2008. Recent exhibitions include ARS NOVA E5305-B at Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender, Berlin and Birds (an installation by Willem de Rooij) at Cubitt, London. Vincent Vulsma will be participating in the 6th edition of the Berlin Biennale, forthcoming this year.
Opening Saturday 10 April 2010: 17 – 19 hrs
Exhibition: 10 April – 15 May
Dolores/EdB Projects – curated by Karin Hasselberg