CATHRINE RABEN DAVIDSEN
16th October – 14th November 2009
The three initials of Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s name form her signature and recur in the simple monogram she uses on exhibition invitations etc. In fact there is nothing unusual about this use of the initials. Nevertheless they say something about the way she expresses herself.
CRD is a kind of coded message that requires you to know who is hidden behind the initials. It is an anonymization as well as an identification. And Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s work balances between these same two poles. Between secrecy and direct appeal. Remoteness and presence.
Long before it became fashionable to tell stories in contemporary art, Raben Davidsen was preoccupied with narrative. But in a quite special way. She juxtaposes various well known works from the history of art and literature in her own works. The titles typically indicate the reference she is making. But these are not illustrations or straightforward paraphrases. Rather, they are independent interpretations in a language that is enigmatic and hermetic, but which at the same time draws the viewer in and engages in a clear dialogue – with history, with the contemporary and with the works of other artists.
In Remote Control at the Martin Asbæk Gallery, Cathrine Raben Davidsen attempts, through historical models, to explore the way we interact today.
One central figure in the works in the exhibition is the writer Virginia Woolf. In several ways. She functions as a specific motif, but Raben Davidsen is also interested in among other things Woolf’s narrative technique, the stream of consciousness, which mixes time and space in stories of transformation, where differences become fluid – for example between man and woman, as in Woolf’s famous novel Orlando. The androgynous is in fact a recurrent feature in Raben Davidsen’s portraits: fluid identities, states open to transformation.
Cathrine Raben Davidsen (b. 1972) has shown several times that she is not an artist who sticks to a single medium. Most recently with her monumental, drawn wall decoration for NIMB in Copenhagen and the acclaimed solo exhibition White Ink at Horsens Kunstmuseum, 2008. All the same her subjects always involve the above-mentioned narrative approach. Irrespective of medium. In Remote Control Raben Davidsen presents new paintings, drawings, prints – and ceramic vases designed and painted by the artist. This is the first time she has worked with ceramics.