Bjarne Melgaard’s virtual reality artwork, My Trip (2019) takes the viewer on a journey to the farthest reaches of the dark web. Melgaard compares the experience to taking Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a naturally occurring drug, which is produced by a gland in the brain. DMT is considered the strongest hallucinogenic chemical substance and is found in almost every living organism on earth.
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.
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.
My Trip also explores the abyss of the technological underground, the endless information consumed every day and the feeling of apathy and dullness that this technology consequently produces.
The work is accompanied by a soundtrack created specifically for My Trip by Melgaard’s long-time collaborator Romina Cohn.
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.
Bjarne Melgaard at New Frontier, Sundance Film Festival
We’re thrilled to be able to announce Bjarne Melgaard’s ‘My Trip’ has been accepted to New Frontier! The programme takes place at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January 2020. The Sundance Institute spotlights work at the dynamic crossroads of film, art and technology with the New Frontier selections for 2020. This […]
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