Visiting Artist Talk: Mads Lynnerup: notes


Here are the notes from last week’s talk by Mads Lynnerup. Visit the Barrick tonight at seven to hear from the painter Jim Lee.

  • “I have a hard time labelling myself or being labelled.”
  • he went to UCLA thinking that he would become a sculptor. The school had recently introduced a New Genres field to its curriculum. He looked at New Genres, tried it, didn’t understand it at first; eventually realized that it was where he “felt at home.” He wanted to interact with his sculptures, not leave them static. (N.b., the definition of ‘New Genres’ on the UCLA website looks like this: “The New Genres curriculum includes installation, video, film, audio, performance, digital, hybrid and emerging art forms. New Genres is a practice which begins with ideas and then moves to the appropriate form or media for that particular idea, sometimes inventing entirely new sites of cultural production, new methodologies, technologies, or genres in the process.”)
  • an early work: unrolling a long strip of aluminum across a hillside. He wouldn’t have made this work back in Denmark, he says, but American aluminum foil is unusually thick and robust, “really amazing sculptural material.”
  • he made a photo work in the shape of a small, labelled plastic bag, then copied the bar code from a Walgreens product, added the bar code to each copy of this bag, and placed his objects in a store. Held an opening in the store. “Nobody seemed to care.” Came back to check on the works afterwards. Walgreens sold out of them several times and he had to restock.
  • had to return to Denmark for compulsory military service. Saw it as a chance to connect with the Danish arts community. Participated in a group engagement with a public park. Was inspired by a specific duck at this park. Built a wooden duck platform that fitted over his head. The idea came “out of a very intuitive place.” Eyes and top of cranium emerging through an oval hole. Got into lake. Mostly submerged. Body hidden in the water. Walked around in the lake wearing the duck platform. He shows us a photograph.
  • David Hammons.
  • Jens Haaning “opened up my eyes to what else art could do.”
  • when he carries out an idea several times and gets to know it too well, then he retires it.
  • Yoko Ono. Her Grapefruit. Was invited to take part in performances to accompany the Y E S YOKO ONO exhibition at SFMOMA in 2002. Sat on the stage with a guitar, but instead of playing music he squeezed a grapefruit into his cowboy boot and drank the juice. Fluxus. Disrupting your expectations.
  • Videos. A rope is tied to his leg. He ties the other end of the rope to a tree. Then he runs and falls over. A car is wearing a tank costume. He drives it around San Francisco.
  • as you continue to make art it becomes harder to do what it seems in the moment is the right thing to do, he says.
  • wondering how he could combat people who say that art has no function, he created his Clock, 2008. One of his gallerists bought a Clock for her kitchen, where it functions as a clock.
  • mulling over San Francisco — a fascinating place, “a weird city” — he created his Flip-Flop Floor, 2003, at a gallery in the middle of the metropolis so that people would feel encouraged to take a walk around the streets near the gallery.
  • in 2004 he moved to Berlin for a while
  • in grad school he tried painting
  • “finding art to be so static” he made artworks that changed when you moved them
  • reacting to the stereotypes of artists (unathletic) and athletes (nonartistic) he made artworks that could be used as athletic equipment.
  • he says he wonders if he is dyslexic, or if English just still seems unfamiliar enough to generate an uncommonly literal reactions in him when he sees an advertisement with the words “massage” and “chair.” (He shows another video: a chair is receiving a firm massage. We laugh.)
  • he worries that video art is too passive – people stand still and stare at the screen. So he makes moving screens.
  • you strive as an artist to do something different, but there is a feeling that “everything has been done.” It depresses him. He makes a work using the phrase “Everything has been done.” It is an edition of fifty books. Every page is a flyer, each one is done in a different style, each page says, “Everything has been done.” Ten copies of the book have been rigged to catch fire when opened.
  • (Video of a rigged book being opened. Fire.)
  • is the fear of doing the same thing as everyone else particular to artists, he wonders? Do surgeons ever worry that they’re conducting an operation in the style of someone else?
  • “I’m really fascinated with the everyday and how I could shed new light on it.”

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