With a point of departure in the collective repertoire of colours, symbols, and iconography from the 20th century, Mette Winckelmann mixes genres and explores new directions in her art with a major solo exhibition at Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art.
Abstraction and craft play a central role in the art of Mette Winckelmann. In her paintings, collages, and installations she uses traditional arts and crafts as tools to challenge culturally defined categories, hierarchies, and identities. With Come Undone the artist delves into the basic elements of our visual communication by focusing on the colours that have played a central cultural-historical role in the West. Winckelmann has transformed the lower gallery of Overgaden with constellations of large fabric works hanging from the ceiling like unfinished sketches of a survey of the graphic history of the 20th century – printed by hand, in layers, recognisable yet unfamiliar.
Red, white and black, the colours of the Russian Revolution, the feminist movement, Constructivism and Nazism form a fixed point of reference in the exhibition. On the fabric stout, an unbleached form of cotton used in the textile industry for the designing of clothing collections before the final production, Winckelmann uses textile printing to create new systems, opening our eyes to the principal components of the endless symbols that surround us in our everyday lives. Rather than privileging any specific points of view, both the making and reading of the works accentuate exploration and changeability. Other parts of the exhibition focus on muddied colours – a murky purple that turns into brown, grey, coloured surfaces so heavily coated that the origins of the colours can no longer be traced.
For the exhibition Mette Winckelmann has replaced Overgaden’s iconic outdoor banner with one the same size, but with abstract symbols in grey and black. Winckelmann uses the banner to visually underline the fact that the visual representation of identity is never a given, but the result of choices with long, historical roots.
Come Undone marks another step in Mette Winckelmann’s shift from smaller, completed works in the direction of a fundamental investigation of the never-ending process of how we use forms and colours to communicate.
Mette Winckelmann (b. 1971) is educated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2003 and has exhibited at Moderna Museet, Malmö and Sorø Kunstmuseum, Avlskarl Gallery, Copenhagen, Nosbaum & Reading Art Contemporain, Luxembourg and made works in public space for Viborg Kunsthalle among others. The artist is represented in the collections of The National Gallery of Denmark and Vitamin P, New Perspectives in Painting (Phaidon, Oct. 16).