@ Jack Barrett Gallery, New York, US
03.05.2019 - 16.06.2019
Jack Barrett is pleased to present Re-member me, a solo presentation of works by Danish artist Rasmus Myrup. The show comprises new works on paper and a series of sculptures that form an installation. This is the first presentation of work at the gallery by Myrup.
Six framed pastel works occupy the walls; three are cropped portraits, and three are landscapes. The latter depict lush forest scenes with various flora in full bloom. These works are all titled Orgy, subtitled by their specific sites in southern Scandinavia (Kibæk, Skovshoved, Älmtasjön), and respective time of day.
Here, Orgy refers to the varied mingling organisms in close proximity, who all sew seeds and cross pollinate, in a hedonist fashion. Like in an orgy, most of the sexual action in a forest ends up being non-reproductive; very few seeds will germinate. No humans are present in these scenes, suggesting the seeming insignificance of man. Historically, landscape depictions like these have been associated with the notion of the sublime; an overwhelming of the senses, in both spiritual and aesthetic terms. The sublime underscores our inability to perceive the awe-inspiring beauty and greatness of nature, and these works suggest that the sexual aspect of nature could do the same.
The three figurative pastels appear to reference male homo-erotic pornography, but instead depict some sort of crossbreed between human and plant, with airborne plant seed and catkins replacing male ejaculate. These works are titled His Sperm, Angiosperm, and subtitled with the type of angiosperm depicted. All flowering plants and trees belong to the Angiosperm family, whose reproductive cycle shares a partial vocabulary with our mammalian one. The analogies are numerous, and in the titles, Angiosperm becomes a play on words—“And your sperm”—to both allow humans to sew seeds and trees to masturbate.
A series of paper cutouts adorn the walls, all titled Gækkebrev, referencing the Danish winter’s end tradition of sending anonymous letters to loved ones. Each letter is accompanied by a poem and a pressed snowdrop flower, an angiosperm, which blooms at the tail end of winter.
The sculptural works bring the forest to the fore. Pressed leaves collected in France and Denmark conjoin in various ways with freestanding trees native to the East Coast of the United States. They are hybrid creatures with new limbs, Frankenstein-esque, having been reassembled from parts foreign to each other. While not animated, they do evoke Mary Shelly’s Promethean desire to progress and evolve.
As the exhibition title suggests, the show expresses a desire to be remembered, but to also be accepted, and become a member again. Comprised as a whole, the works denote deference to the natural world, in which the biological kingdom seemingly hums along, reproducing in its multitude and multifaceted of ways, either with us or without us.