In “Polymorphous Magical Substance” Espen Gleditsch presents a new interpretation of his exhibition from 2016, first shown at Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo. The exhibition consists of a series of polaroid photographs of modernist architecture and painted walls.
Gleditsch works with both the limitations of the photographic medium, and the photograph as the origin of various misinterpretations and displacements of meaning. In White Lies (2015) he explored the way in which posterity has (inaccurately) recorded Functionalist architecture as white, through its documentation in black-and-white photography. In another work, he has made detailed photographic studies of Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass, with a point of departure in Moderna Museet’s two replicas of the work. The first of these, made by Ulf Linde in 1961, was based on an incomplete set of black-and-white photographs and therefore ended up being reproduced with the wrong colours.
In “Polymorphous Magical Substance” Gleditsch photographs architectural interiors with a polaroid camera. He emphasizes the painterly aspects of the architecture through the encounter of light, colour, form and surface. The intimate polaroid format permits no form of retouching or post-production and in that respect might be likened to a watercolour painting. But nor does it render colours exactly as they are in reality; it creates or imposes its own chromatic scheme.
The photographs form part of a larger exhibition scenography, with the walls of the gallery painted in colours used on buildings from the landmark housing exhibition Weissenhofsiedlung, held in Stuttgart in 1927. In an attempt to reconstruct the official colour scheme of that exhibition, Gleditsch has studied historical archives and collaborated with professional restorative conservators. Once more, however, Gleditsch points to the impossibility of capturing and preserving colour as a stable material. Elements of subjective translation are always embedded in what we perceive as “true” reconstruction or documentary reproduction.
Espen Gleditsch lives and works in Oslo. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo (MA, 2015).
_At NO.5 Bergen Kunsthall re-presents artworks and exhibitions that have been shown elsewhere in the world in recent years. The programme
series is a response to the increasing acceleration of both the production and reception of art in the past decade, and an opportunity to slow down, revisit and focus on selected works or exhibitions.
“Polymorphous Magical Substance” was first shown at Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo in the autumn of 2016._