National Gallery of Denmark
15 December 2007 - 27 April 2008
The Museum owns four sculptures by Cronhammar, which will be shown together for the first time. Borderline Warrior was the first work acquired by the Museum in 1988, and the latest is the completely new work Cabaret.
Not just sculptures
Cronhammar’s sculptures do not resemble any of the other sculptures the Museum has in its collection. They are recognizable as sculptures, but they would be just as well-suited in an industrial connection, as set pieces for a science-fiction film or as scale models in an architect’s studio. The works are hybrids: equal parts sculpture, machine and architecture.
Perfect, grandiose and uncanny
Cronhammar’s works are immediate and speak directly to the observer. The design and treatment of the materials has always got a perfect finish. The expression is controlled and the effects are simple and often grandiose. There are no modest gestures here, but in return lots of uncanniness and rudiments of stories for those who have the courage to interpret the works.
About the works in the exhibition:
Borderline Warrior is reminiscent of an enormous table. It is seven meters square and 80 centimeters high. The sculpture has a shiny black surface with four (satellite) dishes mounted on it. In the middle is a grill-like red neon grating. There are small depressions all the way round containing face powder, and the end of a bone rests on one of the “table edges”. Borderline Warrior could easily have been a prop in a science-fiction film. The four upturned dishes resemble huge plates on a table laid for giants from outer space.
Crusader is half war-machine, half sculpture. It consists of a cruciform, black-painted steel construction, on which are mounted two parallel elastic bands with a laser beam between them, running the length of the cross. Across are two hydraulic arms with hooks on, which catch the two elastic bands, draw them back and release them. Just like an eternal mechanized crossbow.
The sculpture is supplemented with two colour photographs of a male figure wearing a rubber wet-suit. It is uncertain whether the work is a suggestion of how the crusader of the future and his weapons will look, or whether it is a comment on the holy warriors of our time? It is worth noting that although the sculpture can appear frightening, the two crossbows are clearly impotent as they are not armed, and besides they are pointing at each other.
Shine is model and sculpture at the same time. A model for a larger work in painted steel with red fiber-optic light inside. Two coloured photographs belong to the sculpture. Cronhammar has created a great number of monuments for the public space, and his working method is like an architect’s. First of all, a scale prototype is constructed as a model, after which the final work is made. Shine has never been made in full size; it only exists as a model at the Museum and is thereby a finished work of art.
Cronhammar’s most recent work is a cross between a merry-go-round and an absurd confessional. The construction is six meters in diameter and almost three meters tall. Instead of a merry-go-round’s wooden horses, Cronhammar has installed 12 identical chambers with black rubber floors and “institutional green” walls. In each chamber there is a sort of mirror, and at the same time a peep-hole into the next chamber, a shelf and a peculiar hook. The roof of the merry-go-round rotates – but anti-clockwise. It is impossible to say whether the work is an ironic commentary on culture being made into a travelling fun-fair, or whether the merry-go-round is a picture of life going by and the clock that cannot be turned back.