26.03 - 17.04.2022
From the looks of it, Oslo-based artist Eirik Sæther is actually a middle-aged mother who loves travel blogs and interior design. He seems to have raided the local Panduro Hobby shop for his solo exhibition FROMWHEREIRUN; it’s purposefully redolent of bad Arts and Crafts, with sloppily executed paintings dotting the pink walls.
One of these, Gapstow bridge is a stenciled rendition of an analog photo he has taken on one of his many trips abroad. Gapstow bridge, in Central Park, commonly appears as a scenic backdrop for loving couples, but in Sæther´s painting there is no love left (for the medium). Squiggles of black lacquer form what’s supposed to resemble the iconic bridge, but really, it seems to have been performed by an untalented one-year-old. The other paintings, like Emotion Support Troll, are just variants of the same formula, but all of them are pretty ugly. I get that the ugliness is ironic, but this gambit is tired.
Scattered on the floor are some of Sæther’s ceramic sculptures, one of them, Here Lie the Broken Bones of E.Sæther, is depicting a miniature worn out and tagged down sofa, as if that one-year-old also doubled as a subpar graffiti artist. Ostensibly a comment on how individuality manifests in traveling and interior design, the installation is overly formalised, and seems to touch on the topic in only a reductive way.
In marked contrast is Sæther’s video Auditioning For a Mourner, showing the artist alone on a stage, as he performs a monologue to an audience out of our view. His words are clouded by an overly sentimental soundtrack, but their significance is also redundant as the performer conveys the message masterly with his body language alone. Sæther persuades me into feeling compassionate for him with an impressive amount of real tears, and I believe him: he is hurt.
David Everitt Howe