Asbjørn Skou


24. Jan 15. Mar 2015

Architecture and urban planning are more than a physical framework. Urban infrastructure is also where society’s ideals, view of human nature and power relationships are inscribed.

This interaction between physical and ideological spaces is a recurrent field of investigation in the works of Asbjørn Skou. Drawing on the art movement Situationist International as well as the dystopias of science fiction, his work can be seen as a ‘psychogeographical’ study reflecting on contemporary urban space and how it impacts on the individual.

In the solo exhibition A Staggering Territory, Asbjørn Skou has transformed the upper floor of Overgaden into an installational terrain of spatial and visual displacements that provide a framework for a speculative architectural analysis based on the present to point to an imagined future. A central element of the exhibition is a series of large, black-and-white collages reminiscent of the photocopied aesthetics of zine culture. Some are based on the artist’s own documentation of overlooked or repressed urban spaces, like underground car parks, abandoned open-plan offices and development zones, whilst others depict architectural mock-ups of unrealised building projects and screen dumps of satellite maps. In the collages, these images of real and virtual environments are superimposed with different degrees of exposure and obscuration, creating the illusion of an X-ray gaze capable of revealing the hidden layers and structures of our surroundings. Mounted on sculptural floor elements, walls and columns, the collages give the exhibition space the character of a ruin, creating an alienating, surreal landscape that launches a bleak vision of contemporary urban planning and its consequences.

In this perspective people are disturbingly absent. Parallel to the disintegration of the architectural spaces and physical landmarks we usually use to navigate, the individual is only present in the form of virtually unrecognisable fragments of the photo-shopped bodies of advertising culture, symbolising our move towards an increasingly synthetic and misanthropic world. The outcome of this potential path to a future spatial and mental catastrophe is reinforced by the other works in the exhibition, where 1:1 concrete casts of a printer and almost illegible text collages figure as archaeological evidence of the final collapse of our culture. Yet it is precisely here that Asbjørn Skou locates the potential for liberation, because this total breakdown also represents a starting point for new ways of living – as well as a radical rethink of society as we know it.

Asbjørn Skou (b. 1984) studied at Hochschule für Künste in Bremen from 2004 to 2009. His recent solo projects include Terminal Infrastructure at Third Space in Copenhagen, A Hole Through the Future at Munch Gallery in New York, as well as Impossible Society at Vejle Art Museum. He has also participated in numerous group shows in Denmark and abroad, including at Westwerk in Hamburg; Gallery Steinsland Berliner in Stockholm; Athens Video Art Festival and KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces in Køge. In 2014 he published the artist book UNSITE with Konnotation publishers.

For more information about exhibitions and events please visit overgaden.org and our Facebook page.

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