Beer Halls, Tou Scene, Stavanger
Installations, collage, site specific, photos
Each time there is a new exhibition at Tou Scene, it is worth going there. I just wish it would happen more often. Especially when it happens in the Beer Halls. The enormous halls, the remains of the beer factory, are cold, damp and could be an artist's nightmare. But also the dream of some artists. When an artist is able to find the dialogue with this venue, it really rocks.
This is what has happened with Matt Bryans in the Beer Halls, it is obvious that he has enjoyed his time of research and organizing of this exhibition. He has literally attacked the venue, brutally chopped out pieces of the floor or walls. It is like a hurricane passed through. But the raid resulted in some wonderful pieces. Each hall is totally different from the other. Walking through the exhibition is like in an adventure park, you have no idea what is around the next corner.
In the first hall is a giant collage of space. The same technique is used in the next hall, which I will describe more closely: A long banner is hanging on the wall of this hall. There is a mountanous landscape on the banner, like a giant panoramic view. But the view have several layers. First I notice it is printed on newspaper, and it seems like a collage of paper fragments. And as I move along the mountainrange it changes character, the snowcapped hills are suddenly grasslands. This cannot be the same view. Looking even closer I see the landscape is actually a giant collage of newspaper images, all put perfectly together into a whole.
I cannot grasp how this is possible at all. Where have all the newspaper text gone, and how much time and patience does it take to make this?
In the same hall there are some strange stones, shaped like moose shit or something else organic. Each stone is carved like this by the artist. In other halls there are similar structures in different materials.
The next hall is the violent one. Guns are transformed into art pieces. A piece of the floor at the entrance is chopped away and filled with some small pipes. These are bullets shot into the ground. On benches in the hall are gun handles, sanded and polished to look like beautiful wooden sculptures, like baseball bats or substitute legs for kids. And gun barrels are transformed into necklaces.
Metal items fill the floor of the next hall. These are forks of excavating machines, torn down until they have no purpose anymore, left to be recycled as metal. The artist has sanded and oiled the items, making them shine like giant ornament pieces.
We are back to the violence in the next hall. A crowd of colorful miniature people watch the entrance. But seen from the backside, I realize that is actually the front side. From this side they all are black, and they have been shot at. They are human shaped targets. The variety of colors disguised the shotholes.
The wall is covered with rubbings of sewer lids from the area nearby. The prints show the structures, revealing where it was produced.
And then the last hall is the weirdest one. Slides of an old couple dressing up as monsters have fun in some beach resort. This is actually the artist's grandparents that went year after year to the same place, with the same friends, bringing the same costumes and performing the same charades. The weird is put into tradition, the strange is becoming the common.
The exhibition has no name, the artwork have no names. Only the description of the material and the process is written in the following text.
There are some common factors in all the work, that is recycling and the love for detail and materials. All items have been carefully collected, refined, and taken in use as something totally different. The result is at the most beautiful in the collages, the most contrasted in the weaponworks, and the strangest in the picture show.