When creating My Trip, Melgaard wanted to use characters from his own mythology along with people 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.
My Trip begins with the idea of suicide as a existential question, where, for instance, the authorship of Stig Sæterbakken was intertwined with the idea of new psychedelia, that is the whole experience of the “Psychonaut” and the loss of the self within a DMT trip. It is about how one can start to ask more questions around life and how we choose to live it beyond mere suicide. The idea that suicide is the only real philosophical question, as stated by Albert Camus, is now maybe replaced with the idea that, to exist, the ultimate question is, how not to procreate anymore.
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.
Given that it’s the birth of a child that creates the biggest carbon footprint, My Trip also dabbles in the ideas of Anti-Natalism, the writings of David Benetar, overpopulation, ideas of Paul Erhrlich, and the casual paranoia that is more and more a part of people’s everyday life. It’s easier than ever to navigate a ‘Tor’ browser to access the dark web. Being able to deep dive into the abyss that is the technological underground, is now more open to us than ever before. The rational way we try to evolve and live is being constantly challenged by the endless information we consume every day and the feeling of apathy and dullness that this technology produces.
In the end, it’s also a question of what we are going to do with this information overload that invades every aspect of our daily lives. We constantly take in so much information, but so little comes out as an authentic and genuine process in 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 my own 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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