When creating this work, Melgaard wanted to use characters from his own mythology that he has been working with, in some form or another, for the last 25 years. Characters like The Lightbulb Man and Octo were obvious choices, but with Acute Art, the artist also created new mutants and personalities that emerged as part of the creative process together.
Beginning with the idea of suicide as an existential question, new psychedelia, and the loss of the self within a DMT trip, this work asks questions regarding life and how we choose to live it whilst introducing Melgaard’s perspective on Anti-Natalism and over-population. The artist is raising the contradictory view that if we are to continue to exist, humans will have to cease to procreate, as a result of the carbon impact of producing new human life.
Melgaard’s work is influenced by authors Stig Sæterbakken, David Benetar and Paul Ehrlich; The Sofa: A Moral Tale, a 1742 libertine novel by Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon; and, Black Metal band, Darkthrone. Featuring characters that have recurred in the artist’s practice for over 25 years, including Lightbulb Man and Octo, in addition to new mutants and personalities created in collaboration with Acute Art, My Trip is a strikingly stimulating visualisation of the illusions of a DMT experience.
Furthermore, how to stop the idea of a family structure as something positive, to see the repressive signatures of how we are now having either more families or using the idea of an “extended family” – something that within many non-binary and queer communities has been used to the point of exhaustion. In the process, all the edge has been taken away from those identities and the history of queer space.
My Trip also explores the abyss of the technological underground, with the dark net now more open to us than ever before, the endless information consumed every day, the feeling of apathy and dullness that this technology consequently produces and the casual paranoia it induces.
The work questions what we are going to do with this information overload invading every aspect of our daily lives. The constant consumption of so much information is in direct conflict with how little is produced in an authentic and genuine process by the experience of, so called, new technology.
At the conclusion of My Trip a monster jumps out of a closet, materialising from layering of hundreds of digital images of Melgaard’s paintings and drawings. Again, it kills off the same characters that have committed suicide in one form or another earlier in the VR and in the end also portrays life within new media as a never-ending nightmare in which we all participate or repeat.
Bjarne Melgaard was born in Sydney, Australia to Norwegian parents in 1967. He gained recognition in 2000 for being the ‘bad-boy’ of contemporary art, as his work, often sexually explicit, has explored provocative subcultures including heavy metal music, drug addiction and S&M. His first ever solo exhibition in New York in 2000 featured live chihuahuas in baby clothes and sculptures of apes engaged in explicit sexual acts. His most notorious works are also his most controversial. His exhibition, ‘Ignorant Transparencies’ at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York, in 2013, included a giant crack-smoking Pink Panther, covered in globs of psychedelic coloured paint, described as Melgaard’s alter ego.
Melgaard has exhibited extensively internationally, including solo exhibitions at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London (2012) and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2010). He has also participated in the Venice (2011), Lyon (2013) and Whitney (2014) Biennials. In addition to his visual art practice, Melgaard is a prolific curator, writer, film producer and fashion designer. Melgaard lives and works in Oslo, Norway.
Launch of VR programme at Julia Stoschek Collection
Acute Art announces a collaboration with Julia Stoschek Collection to present a Virtual Reality exhibition programme, premiering with a new VR work by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard and AR works by Koo Jeong A in October 2019. The Julia Stoschek Collection, which is based in Berlin and Düsseldorf, will provide a space in Berlin to […]
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