Kung Fu Panda is a new video work by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren in which he films the reflected ambient light on an adjacent white wall at home, whilst his children are watching the eponymous animated feature film. Filmed in High Definition from a fixed camera position and projected as a single work in a gallery context Dahlgren’s Kung Fu Panda becomes an absorbing and constantly changing digital colourfield painting that manifests a subtlety at odds with the apparent chaos of the original film dubbed in Swedish, and the surrounding scenario as the artist’s children watch whilst carrying on their own everyday conversations.
In an adjacent room Dahlgren presents a readymade series entitled When The Sky Is The Limit. Consisting of framed double page spreads from in-flight magazines collected by Dahlgren, each image is selected, isolated, and framed according to its inherent relationship to abstraction.
Dahlgren's work is concerned with a dialogue between the authoritative singularity of pure formal abstraction and its position within a variable, complex and social shared culture. His repetitious collections of ubiquitous and ordinary objects, often domestic, industrially manufactured (and frequently, knowingly Scandinavian); stand in their gestalt form as proxy for High Modernist Abstract Painting and for all of the ideological territory that Twentieth Century Art Theory has staked out for it. The contributing objects, however, signify a collective and human aspect of society, each representing an individual choice, used in a unique way by its consumer. Together these objects stand for the group or community, and as such they become democratic rather than authored. Through endless ingenious amalgams of pattern, abstraction and mass-produced objects, Dahlgren's recent works purposefully inhabit modes of modernist painting, deliberately playing with the inherent autonomy of the source material.
Jacob Dahlgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. Dahlgren represented Sweden in the Nordic Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. His work has been exhibited at, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center/MoMA, New York, USA, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK, and Tramway, Glasgow, UK. He lives and works in Stockholm.
Jacob Dahlgren’s solo exhibition Third Uncle is currently showing at Workplace London until 9th May 2015, please visit the website for further information.
Exhibition open: 25th April – 23rd May 2015