One of the most engrossing sections of this year’s Whitney Biennial is an installation by Bjarne Melgaard, a former Norwegian weightlifter.  Mr. Melgaard’s recent exhibition, “Ignorant Transparencies,” at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise caused a bit of a stir for reconciling art scatter into a formal aesthetic with the help of gay porn and the Pink Panther.  The artist obviously enjoys rummaging the underbelly of desire, pulling things at random from the cracks of questionable taste to create mind-boggling spectacles.

Melgaard’s effort at the Biennial, “I Think I’m Gonna Have A Baby,” resembles a “malfunctioning dumpster.”  There is no pertinent focus to the room.  The eye bounces from one image to the next.  Videos of war are splashed over one wall while monkeys hump on another.  A droning voiceover bemoans a hapless homosexual relationship.  Sculptural sofas look like Pinterest vomited all over them, and a massive chest of drawers has the character of Play-Doh animation.  Female sex dolls haphazardly touch themselves or maybe, as the title suggests; they are feeling the stir of an embryo?  Penises abound.  Everything screams colorful abyss.

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Whitney’s website reads, “Melgaard intends for his installation to communicate the effects of what some scientists call the Anthropocene, a new geological age created by human activity, especially through global warming. He proposes that our collective psyches have been abused and damaged in much the same way the environment has, resulting in sadism and an utter disregard for humanity.”

Although it appears discordant, Travis Jeppesen’s sound installation fits the scene with absurd emphasis.  The very notion of putting on black out glasses while seated in front of Melgaard’s vision is brilliant.  “We have to reinvent feeling first,” a voice exclaims on one of the recordings.

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What does it mean?  Well, pervasive media over-saturation for starters.  A wormhole of psychedelic depravity where the only thing left to do is create war or play with ourselves in a puddle of polychrome impotence.  Either way, balance is lost in a medium without end, a technological fountain of materiality, three-dimensional imaging.  As Kevin Moore said recently of his own curated show PANOPTICUM, “…there is apparently no bottom to the stomach of this culture gorging on its own fears and fait divers.”  The monkey can only mind his desires.

 

-JSB

New York, NY